Bed of rosés

Country Style - - WINE -

Rob In­gram ex­plains why rosé is on the rise world­wide.

Melt­ing glaciers, ris­ing sea lev­els and con­cerned sci­en­tists mightn’t im­press the global warm­ing skep­tics… but let’s see them talk their way out of the cur­rent fad for rosé wines. There is cur­rently a spike in the sales of wines that can be served chilled, and the fash­ion­ista fac­tor, a cross­over of Old World and New World wine philoso­phies, new food trends and, yes, global warm­ing are listed as the main causes. The slo­gan Think Pink has been adopted by var­i­ous cam­paigns, but the new cry is ‘Drink Pink’. we now have to get our heads around the fact that the choice in wines is no longer just a mat­ter of red or white. Pink has claimed its ter­ri­tory too, and in France, rosés now out­sell white wines dur­ing the sum­mer months. Pink wine is hardly an overnight phe­nom­e­non. France’s Provence re­gion traces its rosé pro­duc­tion back to 125 BC, and Ma­teus Rosé en­joyed a boom as the re­sult of sol­diers re­turn­ing from Europe af­ter World War II. Rosés were also a fash­ion ac­ces­sory to Cal­i­for­nia’s zinfandel ob­ses­sion in the 1970s and 1980s. How­ever, in the past 20 years, con­sump­tion has nearly tripled. Cal­i­for­nia’s zinfandel and grenache rosés have been so suc­cess­ful that they’re cred­ited with the US over­tak­ing France to be­come the sec­ond largest sup­plier of wine ex­ports to the UK — be­hind Australia. Rosés now ac­count for 13 per cent of the UK’S wine im­ports and Aus­tralian pro­duc­ers have not missed out on this salient fact. Two ex­em­plary ex­am­ples crossed my desk and, okay, lips, on the same day re­cently — one from Provence and one from NSW’S Mudgee. The 2013 rosé from Mai­son Saint AIX fol­lows the 2012 and 2011 vin­tages that both won gold medals at the in­flu­en­tial Con­cours Général Agri­cole in Paris. AIX Rosé is the pre­mium blend of Mai­son Saint AIX, one of the largest and most pres­ti­gious winer­ies in Provence.the wine has bright fruit char­ac­ters and is an ex­cel­lent ex­pres­sion of the ad­mired Provençal style. Fresh, vi­brant and fruity (straw­berry, ap­ple and cit­rus), it dis­plays clean min­er­al­ity, crisp acid­ity and a creamy fin­ish. Sell­ing at around $30, it will pair beau­ti­fully with ap­pe­tis­ers and fresh seafood, and has plenty of ap­peal as an aper­i­tif. The 2014 Lowe Head­stone Prim­i­tivo Rosé is made from fruit or­gan­i­cally grown at David Lowe’s Mudgee vine­yard, at around 400 me­tres, and with plenty of sum­mer sun and cool nights. Prim­i­tivo is vir­tu­ally the same grape as zinfandel, both be­ing clones of a Croa­t­ian va­ri­ety called crl­je­nak kaste­lan­ski. The bunches are smaller and the flavours darker than zinfandel, but young prim­i­tivo is ex­cel­lent rosé ma­te­rial. David says his prim­i­tivo style does not have the acid­ity of white wine. “it’s a wine with tex­ture, more white than red, and with a flavour that is nei­ther acid-backed nor sweet,” he says. David knows rosés. As a vis­it­ing wine­maker in France, he won The Times Rosé of the Year in both 1992 and 1993. His 2014 rosé cel­e­brates his ear­lier suc­cesses.

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