Bed of rosés
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.