The Weekend Australian - Life - - FOOD & WINE - MAX ALLEN @MAX­AL­LEN­WINE

It was just af­ter Christ­mas when I re­alised the rose re­vival had well and truly ar­rived. Strolling through my lo­cal wine barn, I turned into the pink wine aisle and was met by a scene of pil­lage and plun­der. The nor­mally neatly stacked shelves were half empty; card­board wine boxes had been bro­ken into, their con­tents raided. It was if a mob of thirsty shop­pers in a rose rage had de­scended on the store, buy­ing bot­tles faster than staff could re­stock.

“I haven’t seen this much ex­cite­ment over a wine style since Marl­bor­ough sau­vi­gnon blanc first started to take off in the mar­ket,” says Peter Nixon of Dan Mur­phy’s wine panel. “We have seen sales growth of be­tween 200 and 300 per cent in the over-$10 rose cat­e­gory over the last twelve months. It is that dra­matic.”

It’s the same for in­de­pen­dent out­lets: ev­ery­where I go re­tail­ers and som­me­liers tell me they’ve never sold as much rose as they have this sum­mer.

In­ter­est­ingly, while wellestab­lished, fuller-flavoured Aus­tralian pink wines such as Turkey Flat and Char­lie Mel­ton’s Rose of Vir­ginia are ben­e­fit­ing from this trend, the kind of rose prov­ing to be most pop­u­lar is the pale, dry style, typ­i­fied by the wines of Provence, and of­ten made in Aus­tralia most suc­cess­fully from pinot noir.

What’s more, peo­ple are spend­ing good money for good pink wine: one of the big­gest-sell­ing lo­cal ex­am­ples is the $20 De Bor­toli La Bo­heme Pinot Noir Rose; one of the most soughtafter French brands is the $28 Mi­raval Cotes de Provence (the wine owned by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt); and Peter Nixon tells me Dan’s even strug­gle to keep up with de­mand for the $50 Do­maine du Gros’Nore from Ban­dol in Provence: “Peo­ple want the best rose and are pre­pared to pay for it,” he says. This is clearly not a pricedriven, cheap-plonk trend.

“It’s awe­some that peo­ple are fi­nally getting on to it,” says De Bor­toli chief wine­maker, Steve Web­ber, who first started pro­duc­ing pale, dry pinot rose a decade ago. “We made 50 per cent more La Bo­heme last year than the pre­vi­ous, and I’ve made a shed load more again this year to keep up.”

Nixon says one of the rea­sons for the lo­cal surge in rose sales is the huge pop­u­lar­ity of the style in coun­tries such as France and Bri­tain.

“What hap­pens in Europe can have an ef­fect on our mar­ket,” he says. “As more and more Aus­tralians go on hol­i­days and en­joy new wine styles there, that can then start to be repli­cated here and it even­tu­ally reaches crit­i­cal mass.”

Nixon says the pop­u­lar­ity of rose is also part of a broader trend of peo­ple diversifying their drink­ing op­tions: where once they might have stuck solely to Marl­bor­ough sau­vi­gnon, now they’re also reg­u­larly buy­ing prosecco (“We’re strug­gling to keep the shelves stocked with this, too,” he says), pink wines and lighter bod­ied reds.

“I’d be a bit con­cerned if I was a Marl­bor­ough sav blanc maker,” he says. “Or, rather, I’d be look­ing at how I can make some rose — and fast.”

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