Good rosé needn’t be a seasonal drink. I mean, it makes no sense does it? If it’s fragrant, refreshing and tasty – with texture to play nicely with food – why would you want to go neglecting it for a few months every year?
Even so, we do it pretty much instinctively. We think pink the second the first rays of spring sunshine beam into our consciousness. So don’t fight it, feel it. Here’s a range of ripping rosé to dive into right now.
2016 Pittnauer Pitt Nat Burgenland RRP $48
After Gerhard Pittnauer’s very successful pétillant naturel experience with the 2015 vintage, he decided to go on with the idea of a natural sparkling wine in 2016. It worked out as a wonderful vintage for it. The rosé comes from parcels with red wine grapes in conversion to biodynamic viticulture, mainly Syrah and Merlot. Handpicked grapes were pressed as whole bunches and the juice was settled overnight (about ten ours) with no additives. Fermentation then kicked off naturally and was allowed to finish in crown-sealed bottle. The result is a vibrant and easy-drinking sparkler with notes of ruby grapefruit, cranberry, candy floss and cream.
2013 Hattingley Valley Rosé England RRP $90
Pinot Noir 59%, Pinot Meunier 36%, Pinot Précoce 5%. Acidity 10.6g/L and residual sugar 9g/L.
“This wine has some bite, in the best possible sense. Acidity is ultra perky, it’s all red apple and white strawberry in the palate with a toothsome chomp that sits amongst the vibrant fizz of the wine. Fragrance is on point; red berries, vanilla, smoke. The wine is powerful, racy and very refreshing. The finish is so good – like a sip of fresh grapefruit juice. Those who like labels would call it ‘an excellent aperitif style’. And it is. 94+ points.” Mike Bennie, The Wine Front December 2016
2016 Villa Wolf Pinot Rosé Pfalz RRP $21
“The Pfalz is a very warm and sunny region, often called the “Tuscany of Germany,” so all of the Pinot varieties do well here. The Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé is a true rosé, made with a brief maceration before pressing to extract color. It is light and refreshing, with deliciously bright berry and fruit flavors and a clean, zippy finish. 89 points.” Anna Lee C. Iijima, Wine Enthusiast January 2017
2017 Shadowfax Minnow Rosé Werribee RRP $23
Shadowfax is really reaping the rewards from its somewhat visionary step of planting southern French varieties on its Werribee vineyards. This is an unconventional but winning combo of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Roussanne, Cinsault and Pinot Noir. It’s heady with red-fruit fragrance of cherry, pomegranate and cranberry, with a dash of sweet spice and rosewater. The palate is juicy but with an invigorating sharpness and spice to the red fruit. Always fun, refreshing and just a little different.
2016 Pierre Amadieu ‘Roulepierre’ Rosé Côtes-du-Rhône RRP $23
The Roulepierre wines of Pierre Amadieu are always rock-solid regional expressions that are approachable and refreshing, as well as carrying the regional hallmarks of the southern Rhône. This wine is vinified in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures to preserve the freshness and fruit of the Grenache and Cinsault grapes. Raspberry and redcurrant join floral notes and dried herbs on the nose, while a touch of spice chimes in on a palate that has a pleasantly full-bodied feel. It’s especially nice to have this wine now available under screwcap.
2015 Dominique Piron Rosé Beaujolais RRP $25
100% Gamay from vines in Corcelles with an average age of 40 years. The subsoil is a patchwork of granite, clay and limestone which gives the wine its nuances. Very crunchy, pure and fresh. Some hints of candy, but enough dryness to keep that in check. Quite chewy and supple at the same time, with nice density and a dry finish.
2016 Pittnauer Blaufränkisch Rosé Burgenland RRP $26
Year in, year out, this is one of the most popular wines we import. Gerhard Pittnauer sources the fruit from various sites with light sandy soils around the Neusiedlersee in Burgenland. Spontaneous fermentation, matured for six months in stainless steel. Residual sugar is low (about 2.5 g/L). It’s a dusty, savoury expression of the Blaufränkisch variety with a nutty and marginally confectionary bouquet of red cherries and flowers backed by a hint of cranberry and marzipan. It’s long, smooth and savoury, with juicy, almost sour-edged raspberry and red cherry fruit punctuated by refreshingly bright acids and underscored by a fine, dusty extract.
2015 Domäne Wachau Zweigelt Rosé Terrassen Federspiel Wachau RRP $27
Most of the fruit is Zweigelt from Weissenkirchen, Wösendorf and Joching. The sandy loess soils in some parts of these villages yield particularly fruit-driven and elegant wines. The Zweigelt vines are cultivated mainly on steep, terraced vineyards. The grapes were hand-picked at the end of September, then destemmed and crushed. After several hours of maceration, some of the must was separated and vinified like a white wine. Bright, vibrant pink; open and playful on the nose, with delicate aromas of redcurrant, ripe bramble fruit, wild strawberries and a little spice. It’s fruity and medium-bodied on the palate, well balanced with refreshing acidity.
2016 Chalmers Rosato Heathcote RRP $27
“Rosé made with tank fermented sagrantino (70%) blended with barrel fermented aglianico (30%). Copper-crimson in colour and right on the money for flavour. There’s a musky bubble-gum character here but it’s underpinned by a crushed-leaf savouriness and graphite-infused cherries/cranberries. Exotic, it certainly is, but from a platform of dryness. Indeed in rosé terms this feels noticeable ‘structural’. Lay down misere. 92 points.” Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front January 2017
2016 Onannon Rosé Yarra Valley RRP $28
“Gold star for the colour – very pale salmon-pink, and another for the flavour and texture. Wild strawberries and raspberries, succulence to this and juicy with chalky, lemony acidity. 93 points.” Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2018
2016 Farr Rising Saignée Geelong RRP $32
“Multiple pinot noir clones, hand-picked, pressed, wild-fermented in used French oak, matured for 10 months. Salmon-pink; has the mouthfeel of pinot noir table wine – it’s more than a rose. Rose petal, cherry blossom and spice aromas lead into a supple, long palate raising the bar on its complex web of spices. The magic lies in the retention of pinot varietal fruit. One of the best roses going around, year in, year out. 95 points.” James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2018
2015 Scorpo Rosé Mornington Peninsula RRP $32
“Pale garnet coloured, pretty to look at. Dive into watermelon and raspberry scents, whiffs of floral things, sniff of tobacco and spice. Light in red berry and spice flavour but has fullness of texture to back it up – indeed, delicacy is refreshing and an asset. Light chew of tannins seals the deal. Rosé lovers apply here. 93 points.” Mike Bennie, The Wine Front July 2016
2016 S.C. Pannell Rosé Nebbiolo Adelaide Hills RRP $35
“A beautifully focused and textured rose of delightfully pale salmon hue, elegant rose hip and violet aromas and understated wild strawberry fruit. It is bone dry and savoury, nuanced with understated tamarillo fruit. The real secret here is its texture, masterfully fine and beautifully refined, with tannin, acid and phenolics melding seamlessly into one on a very long finish, never bitter nor coarse. Masterful. 94 points.” Tyson Stelzer, Australian & New Zealand Wines of the Year 2017
2015 Pittnauer Dogma Rosé Burgenland RRP $35
MAGNUM RRP $124
A blend of biodynamic Blaufränkisch and St Laurent grapes grown on various light sandy sites around the Neusiedlersee in Burgenland. This undergoes spontaneous fermentation and nothing is added, including sulphur, throughout the entire process.
“Leering, lurid garnet colour. Lively with cherry pip, maraschino cherry aromas. Shows some spice and ruby grapefruit lift in perfume too. Palate is crunchy, tangy, more of the bright cherry kind of feel, so refreshing, so thirst crushing, feels just so darn good to drink. A little rub of tannin and extra tang to finish. Stacks to like here. 93 points.” Mike Bennie, The Wine Front December 2016
2017 Nocturne Nebbiolo Rosé Margaret River RRP $35
MAGNUM RRP RRP $70
“2017 was a great season for our barrel-fermented rosé,” says Jimmy Watson-winner Julian Langworthy. “ Light, fine flavours became present in the fruit at nice low sugar levels, allowing expressive, generous wines that are nicely in check with regards to alcohol.” Nocturne is the personal label for the single-site wines Julian makes with his wife Alana from exceptional vineyards in his native Margaret River. Fruit for the rosé comes from the Lentondelle Vineyard in the Carbanup sub-region of Margaret River. It’s a flat, warm site with fertile, red sandy soils.
Hand-picked grapes were whole bunch-pressed directly to old oak for fermentation, which kicked off spontaneously. After 10 weeks in oak unsulphured on gross lees, the wine was emptied from barrel, settled, filtered, sulphured and bottled. Once again, this is a very fine and subtle rosé which continues to push the boundary of high-end rosé.
2015 Scorpo ‘Bestia’ Pinot Grigio Tradizionale Mornington Peninsula RRP $42
Paul Scorpo and the team hand-picked a tonne of lovely, ripe Pinot Gris. It went into an open-top fermenter, 70% destemmed and the balance as whole clusters. It was given a five-day cold soak before a two-week indigenous ferment kicked off. It was pressed after a total 21 days on skins, then aged for 11 months in four-year-old French barriques.
“As the name suggests, fully ripe pinot gris/grigio grapes are a dusky purple grey in colour, so if you ferment the juice with the skins (as you would a red variety), you can end up, as here, with a wonderful copper-hued wine. This has an entrancing perfume of hedgerow flowers and berries, with a gorgeous, rich texture on the tongue. Think of it as a full-bodied dry rosé. And try it with lentil soup.” Max Allen, Financial Review May 2017