This is the third part of a look at rosé – one of the fastest growing categories in the Australian wine industry. Best to start here.
While this is a roundup of ‘the rest’ what’s most interesting here is the trends. On the whole, bright red, full-flavoured (and often sweet) styles are out. Now it’s about pale, savoury, occasionally completely flavourless Provence-inspired styles. The best wines are almost all in the latter camp, but there’s definitely a place for both styles.
Not sure about you but I like that rosé is back – much more interesting than most rubbish Pinot Grigio/Gris (the other category that’s over-performing). The best delicate and dry styles are utterly smashable on a warm night. Yes please.
Wines are in order of more to less impressive.
Lino Ramble PeeWee McLaren Vale Nero d’Avola Rosé 2016
Nero can be a great variety for pink wines. This is from certified organic fruit and was barrel fermented in oak. Just 104 cases produced. Lovely juicy raspberry fruit. Like a raspberry lolly, though you’d not call this sweet at all – just juicy. Easy, fun drinking here in a bright, simply juicy, typically energetic Lino Ramble style. Best drinking: 2017. 17/20, 90/100. 12.4%, $25. Would I buy it? I’d share a bottle for sure.
Blue Wren No. 516 Single Vineyard Mudgee Rosé 2016
A new name to me which is always fun. Merlot-based, this is coppery light red and slightly off-dry, with pink strawberry fruit and lightly tart, chewy finish. Intensity is great here, with lots to grab onto (even though it’s a straightforward wine). Good easy drink. Best drinking: 2017. 16.8/20, 89/100. 13.5%. Would I buy it? I’d drink a glass.
The Vinden Headcase Hunter Valley Rosè 2016
Merlot and Shiraz with 10% Semillon and Alicante. A bigger, bolder style driven by jubey red fruit palate with just a little sweetness before a tangy finish. Good length in a fuller, just off dry, slightly tannic style. It’s a big and serious, more classically Australian rosé style, if missing just a little delicacy. Best drinking: 2017. 16.8/20, 89/100. 12.9%, $30. Would I buy it? Two glasses.
La Bise Le Petite Frais Adelaide Hills Rosé 2016
A blend of Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Pinot Gris. Lipstick pink, this is a dry and serious style, with hearty, ripe and hearty flavours. Can’t hide the slightly hard edges and barest hint of oxidation, but the depth of flavour is good. Benefits from a good chill. Best drinking: 2017. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.2%, $22. Would I buy it? Just a glass.
Yalumba Y Series Sangiovese Rosè 2016
Light pink rosè style with a little musk on the nose, backed by a tangy, acid firmly acidic palate that is driven by a a little pink fruit rather than residual sugar. Nice budget pink that does everything right for the dollars. Best drinking: 2017. 16.5/20, 88/100. 12%, $15. Would I buy it? I’d go a glass or two.
Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley McLaren Vale Grenache Rosè 2016
Much drier and more serious this year. It’s almost rosado like, the typical Grenache juiciness carrying less residual than previously, even though it’s still long and juicy. I wasn’t a fan of last vintage, but this is a step up. Best drinking: 2017. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.5%, $20. Would I buy it? A glass.
Long Rail Gully Canberra Rosé 2016
Shiraz-based, this is off dry and juicy, with soft acidity and some pink grapefruit and strawberry fruit. Lively red fruit but the balance isn’t quite there (a little too sweet) for more love. Best drinking: 2016. 16/20, 87/100. 12%. Would I buy it? No.
Stoneleigh Classic Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Surprised there isn’t more Marlborough Pinot rosé, but no doubt it will come. Light coppery pink, this has a burst of rose water and strawberry musk. Dry palate toys with fruit sweetness before descending into firm acidity and a slightly attenuated finish. Just a little too tart, though reasonable for the $$$. Best drinking: 2017. 16/20, 87/100. 13%, $17.99. Would I buy it? No.
Giesen Hawke’s Bay Rosè 2016
Light orange pink, this has hints of herbs and capsicum on the nose, with a little musk residual sweetness. Slightly hard edged acidity to this too. Burly Merlot based pink not offset by sweetness – balance just isn’t there. Not quite. Best drinking: 2016. 15.5/20, 85/100. 13%, $19.99. Would I buy it? No.
Jacobs Creek Barosé 2016
This is the restaurant-only Jacobs Creek rosé and easily the lesser of the new wines. Pale pink, a rather downplayed savoury nose, and a sour palate driven by acidity. A curiously neutral pink and lacks much substance or delicacy. Best drinking: 2017. 15/20, 84/100. 12.7%. Would I buy it? No.