If you’re considering what wine to pair with your next dinner party, date night, a classy cheese board or just something to sip with a relaxed summer vibe, rosé should definitely be on your radar.
With its iconic pink hue, elegant fruit and herbal notes combined with refreshing acidity, rosé has become a ‘go-to’ wine in the warmer months here in Australia and indeed is increasingly being enjoyed all year round. Produced in an array of styles, from sparkling, to sweet, to dry and savoury, rosé truly ticks a lot of boxes. And when you couple that with its food-friendly nature, rosé is a top tipple for almost any occasion.
A wine defined by its colour – rosé comes in all shades of pink and can be made from almost any red wine grape variety. And despite some myths surrounding what impact the colour of a rosé has on the wine, the depth of its colour plays no part in determining the quality or how sweet the wine is. Rather it is the array of different grape varieties themselves and the methods winemakers employ to produce it, that goes hand in hand with rosés diversity and versatility as a style.
Lighter coloured rosé styles, such as the world-renowned Provence rosés from the sunny south of France are a result of spending less time in contact with the grape skins, than those of darker styles. Rosé can spend as little as a couple of hours or a whole day on skins, with the longer the time spent, generally, the more colour, more tannin, and more flavour complexities the wine will have.
Common varieties used in rosé include Grenache, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Shiraz/Syrah, Cinsault, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, but whichever variety is used, all impart their distinct influence on the style and flavour of the wine. Grenache for instance can produce juicy red berries and subtle citrus notes, while Tempranillo can show strawberries with more savoury herbal and spice elements.
When it comes to matching the pink stuff with food, the options are endless. Seafood, salmon, chicken, grilled vegetables, creamy pasta, pizza, soft cheese and charcuterie all match well with rosé. If you opt for a fuller-bodied rosé style, even lean grilled or bbq meats and burgers can be a match made in heaven.
So, whether it’s date night, a family dinner or a chilled Sunday arvo, a bottle of rosé is a great option. Check out some of these delicious drops for some inspiration.
Sutton Grange Fairbank Rosé
From Central Victoria, Sutton Grange Fairbank Rose is a blend of three varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Sangiovese. It’s a bright and savoury rosé with hints of strawberry, citrus, blood orange, herb and spice notes. A serious style rosé, this one will impress everyone from the avid wine drinker to a novice, with ample fruit and texture and a bright cleansing finish, making it a great drink on its own or paired with food over a long lunch with family and friends.
Alma Cersius Gardian Grande Réserve Rosé
A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah from the Languedoc region in the south of France, the Gardian rosé is a classic Provence style without the price tag. It’s generous, yet light and easy to drink, with flavours of strawberry and raspberry over a floral and mineral backbone, finishing dry with crisp refreshing acidity. This chic Frenchy would be an ideal tipple on a date night, sipped simply on its own, or matched with seafood, creamy vegetarian dishes and that classy cheese board.
Whitehorse Rd Rosé
A great value rosé from South Australia. Volumes of red berries with hints of musk and spice, driven by mineral acidity, before a crisp and dry finish. Great as a mid-week sipper or casual catch-up, this is a slightly fuller-bodied expression of rosé and will match with a range of foods including creamy pasta, pizza and grilled meats.
Blue Pyrenees Cuvée Riche
A rare demi-sec (semi-sweet) style of sparkling from the Pyrenees region in Victoria. While this may not technically be called a rosé, it pours salmon pink, so that’s good enough for us to put it in this line-up! Uniquely rich, yet balanced with a light and refreshing effervescence, it tastes of ripe strawberries and cherry with a creamy brioche complexity. A top choice as a party starter or relaxed indulgent drinking on its own, match this with a fruit platter or your favourite fruit-based dessert.