There is something about the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk that never quite rings true. I know that his little white hen lays golden eggs, but I have always felt that the way he fawns over the chook seems out of character. I thought of the giant the other day, however, when I tried a new wine of which I had little expectation.
I was unenthusiastic because I usually find pinot noir rosé too pretty for my palate. I don't mind a rosé that looks as if Barbie drinks it regularly, but I want the wine to have some visceral punch to offset its cute appearance. So, with a bottle of Mount Fishtail Sparkling Pinot Rosé before me, I expected the worst.
This is not rosé champagne, of which I am especially fond, but old-fashioned sparkling, which is more fizz than fabulous, and invariably laden with a hearty dollop of sweet nothing that leaves your mouth all puckered and flaccid. On first sight, the only positive about the wine was that it was produced by Konrad, a Waihopai Valley winery for whom I have developed a healthy respect, and which has Mount Fishtail (a real mountain, honestly) as its second label.
So I gave it a shot and, glory be, it's one of the more exciting wines to have come my way recently. Not fine, you understand, nor subtle, but a giant with a soft touch, a boisterous character, plenty of flavour and enough horny bits to get your pulse going. Brilliant for a party, I reckon, and the perfect bottle to open at a barbecue when the sausages are suspect. There is enough oomph in one of these to conceal a multitude of gustatory misdemeanours and leave you and your guests with silly smiles on your faces.
It's a new style, to be sure, and one that should be around for the long haul. Jolly pink giant with bubbles - it could become a Kiwi tradition.
TRY THIS MOUNT FISHTAIL SPARKLING PINOT ROSÉ
It's deep pink with a seriously enthusiastic fizz to it and plenty of soft, roses and strawberry aromas that are the best of pretty pinot. However, this is no namby-pamby guzzler, whatever its colour, for it has oodles of flavour and a backbone of positive alcohol that delivers more grunt than some fully fledged pinot noirs manage. It also gains vigour from the bubbles, taking away that oh-so-soft prettiness that so much pinot noir rosé has, and leaves you with a mouthful of gusto. Terrific fun. You should get a bottle immediately. From: adventurous suppliers. For: $19.70.