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1. IS­ABEL ES­TATE Marl­bor­ough Rosé 2017 ($ 24.99) Gold Medal

One hun­dred per cent Marl­bor­ough pinot noir was all that was needed to cre­ate the stand-out wine of our tast­ing. “Gor­geous to look at and scented with del­i­cate maraschino cherry,” com­mented Jane. “It has ex­cel­lent acid­ity and dry­ness – the per­fect sum­mer wine.” Cameron agreed, see­ing red cherry and plum con­cen­tra­tion, a del­i­cately struc­tured, beau­ti­fully bal­anced palate and ex­cel­lent length. Yvonne thought it was pos­si­bly the best rosé she’d ever ex­pe­ri­enced, “Ul­tra-tangy, in­cred­i­bly pretty, gen­er­ous in ev­ery re­spect, it’s ab­so­lutely stun­ning.” Is­abel are on a roll.

2. WAIRAU RIVER Marl­bor­ough Rosé 2017 ($ 20) Gold Medal

One word that kept com­ing up in the judg­ing team’s notes with this was “com­plex”. One sip and you’ll see why it was a wine they kept go­ing back to over and over. The fact it’s a blend of pinot noir, mer­lot, syrah and pinot gris most def­i­nitely added rich­ness and in­ten­sity and wow­fac­tor for sure. The Rose fam­ily own Wairau River and it’s lovely they’ve scored gold for their name­sake wine. Su­per pale, with pretty pink di­a­mond colour­ing, it’s fruit sat­u­rated and in­cred­i­bly juicy. “Fleshy, plump and a fab­u­lous ex­am­ple,” ex­claimed Cameron, while Jane loved its vi­brancy and drink­a­bil­ity.

3. VILLA MARIA Cel­lar Selec­tion Pinot Noir Rosé ($ 17.99) Gold Medal

With its darker sal­mon pink colour, this looks su­per sexy from the get-go. “It’s a very full, rich style, with hints of pep­per and spice,” noted Yvonne. “The mouth­feel has de­li­cious texture and gen­eros­ity and it boasts a mouth­wa­ter­ing fin­ish.” Cameron agreed, mar­vel­ling at the crunchy-fresh acid­ity and mix of peach, red ap­ple and cran­berry on the palate. A stun­ner that’ll carry you right through the sea­son.

4. OPAWA Marl­bor­ough Rosé 2017 ($ 19.95) Gold Medal

Brett Birm­ing­ham is the man charged with cre­at­ing the Opawa range of wines for Nau­tilus Es­tate, and we’ll be back­ing him for a payrise af­ter this most ex­cel­lent ef­fort. “Beau­ti­fully juicy and packed with straw­berry and flo­ral aro­mat­ics,” noted Jane, while Yvonne raved about its per­son­al­ity and feisti­ness. Solid mid-palate fruit con­cen­tra­tion, fleshi­ness and a great acid line makes this an im­pres­sive, crowd­pleaser of a rosé for any oc­ca­sion.

5. WAIPARA HILLS Waipara Rosé 2017 ($ 21.90) Gold Medal

“Ap­ples, rasp­ber­ries and a touch of quartzy min­er­al­ity gives this a lovely bou­quet and palate,” com­mented Cameron. Yvonne agreed, adding it was burst­ing with cherry and berry, while Jane found masses of straw­ber­ries and cream, adding, “Crisp, re­fresh­ing, with ex­cel­lent con­cen­tra­tion, it’s fuller flavoured and lifted”.

6. AKARUA RUA Cen­tral Otago Rosé 2017 ($ 24) Gold Medal

“Beau­ti­fully crim­son-pink in the glass and boast­ing a splash of savoury, al­most meaty, notes cloak­ing the fresh berries,” of­fered Yvonne. “Ro­bust, fruity and spicy-clean.” Cameron an­nounced it was lively, en­gag­ing, con­cen­trated and packed with rasp­ber­ries, and plums. Jane loved the wa­ter­melon and fuch­sia colour and the candy floss and berry el­e­ments. It’s big, bold and burst­ing with per­son­al­ity.

7. O:TU Hawke’s Bay Mer­lot Rosé 2017 ($ 22.99) Gold Medal

It’s as if you’ve taken a bite of red ap­ple dusted with crushed candy and soaked in cran­berry and straw­berry each time you sip this wine. “Very drink­able,” an­nounced Jane, adding how full and con­cen­trated it was. “It’s a very se­ri­ous style,” she said. Yvonne was se­duced by the rich colour, pink pep­per­corn nu­ances and its juicy mouth­feel.

8. MIS­SION ES­TATE Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017 $ 16 Gold Medal

This is a su­perbly con­structed blend of mer­lot, mal­bec, syrah and caber­net franc that is ex­cep­tional value for money. Su­per­pretty in the glass and burst­ing with cherry blos­som aro­mat­ics, fresh spices, rasp­berry and all man­ner of red fruits, it’s a def­i­nite crowd-pleaser ac­cord­ing to Yvonne. “Plush, fruity and en­gag­ing,” added Cameron.

9. TE KANO ES­TATE Cen­tral Otago Rosé 2017 ($ 27) ½ Sil­ver Medal

Te Kano (Māori for seed) cel­e­brates the lone sur­viv­ing kowhai tree known as “Old Man Kowhai’ on the North­burn slopes above Lake Dun­stan. Hun­dred per cent pinot noir has pro­vided soft wa­ter­melon, rasp­berry and cream­ing soda char­ac­ters. It’s rich and de­li­cious, sul­try and sat­is­fy­ing. A fruity new­comer with se­ri­ous fi­nesse.

10. TI POINT ‘ RUBY’ Hawke’s Bay Mer­lot Rosé 2017 ($ 18.99) ½ Sil­ver Medal

This wine, named af­ter the el­dest daugh­ter of Ti Point's founder Tracy Ma­son, straight away had colour im­pact in the glass. “Zippy acid­ity, pure and re­fresh­ing, fruity and en­gag­ing,” com­mented Cameron, while Yvonne de­clared her love im­me­di­ately. “El­e­gantly crafted, fresh berry and cherry flavours, sat­is­fy­ing, suc­cu­lent and beau­ti­fully bal­anced – more please!”

11. WOO­ING TREE Cen­tral Otago Rosé 2017 ($ 27) ½ Sil­ver Medal

Lovely fresh aro­mas of berries and cher­ries and punchy acid­ity ac­cen­tu­ate the red-fruited core of this wine, mak­ing it an im­pres­sive sip in­deed. “Beau­ti­fully bal­anced and long on flavour,” noted Yvonne. “Wim­ble­don any­one?” an­nounced Jane with her de­scrip­tion of straw­ber­ries and cream. “It’s vi­brant, clean, crisp and sweetly fruited.”

12. THREE MIN­ERS VINE­YARD Cen­tral Otago Rosé 2017 ($ 26) Sil­ver Medal

Per­fectly pale, like the skin on a kew­pie doll, this rosé ab­so­lutely rocks the red fruits along­side masses of melon and nec­tarine – even a twang of del­i­cate cream­ing soda and spice make them­selves known too. Crisp, crunchy and long, long, long, Jane also an­nounced it was a gor­geous ex­plo­sion of fra­grant fruit – crisp, re­fresh­ing and per­fect for sum­mer sip­ping. Full, rich and fab­u­lous.

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