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Michael Cooper's top summer rosé picks for 2019

Now wildly popular, following an unpromising start, rosés are an ideal drop for summer drinking.

It’s the holiday season – time to slow down and smell the rosés. Once dismissed as “lolly water”, rosé is now wildly popular. Hundreds of pink or orange/pink wines are lining the shelves, with refreshing, buoyant, berryish flavours, dry or dryish, appetising crispness – and loads of drink-young charm.

Ash Ridge Estate Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2019 ••••½

Invitingly scented, this fresh, dry wine was made from merlot. Bright pink, it has watermelon flavours, hints of cherries and spices and good vigour and intensity (12% alc/vol). $22

Astrolabe Comelybank Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2019 •••••

A blend of pinot noir (principally) and pinot gris, this light-pink, fragrant and fleshy wine has strong peach, strawberry and spice flavours that are smooth and fully dry (13.5% alc/vol). $25

Black Cottage Marlborough Rosé 2019 •••½

Bright pink, with fresh, slightly spicy aromas, this blend of pinot noir and pinot gris has lively strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours, slightly peachy notes and a crisp, basically dry finish (12.5% alc/vol). $18

Black Barn Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2019 ••••½

Based on merlot, this delicious wine is ready to roll. Full-flavoured, it is strawberryish, peachy and spicy, with a touch of complexity and a dry, crisp finish (12.5% alc/vol). $23

Brightwater Vineyards Sophie’s Kiss Nelson Rosé 2019 ••••½

Delicious young, this pinot noir-based rosé is bright pink with watermelon and spice flavours that show excellent vibrancy and depth, and has a finely balanced, off-dry finish (13.5% alc/vol). $22

Coal Pit Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 •••••

Bright pink, with a highly attractive, floral bouquet, this Gibbston-grown wine is fresh and dry, with strong peach, watermelon, strawberry and spice flavours that show excellent delicacy and length (13.5% alc/vol). $31

Dashwood by Vavasour New Zealand Rosé 2019 •••½

This wine makes no claims about regional origin or varieties, but was grown in Marlborough and offers great value. Bright pink, it is a charming, vibrantly fruity wine with watermelon and peach flavours, hints of strawberry and spices and an ultra-smooth finish (13% alc/vol). $16

Falconhead Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2019 •••½

Partly barrel-fermented, this pale-pink wine has generous fresh peach, watermelon and spice flavours and a dryish finish. Good value (13% alc/vol). $17

Esk Valley Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2019 ••••

For many years, this was New Zealand’s most successful rosé on the show circuit. Merlot-based, it is pale pink, fragrant and lively, with good depth of fresh strawberry and spice flavours, a hint of peaches and a smooth, dry finish (12.5% alc/vol). $20

Giesen Riesling Blush 2019 •••½

A wine to share “while getting ready for a night out”, this pale-pink wine was made from riesling and a splash of syrah. Light and lively, it is gently sweet, with balanced acidity and good depth of fresh watermelon, peach and spice flavours (10% alc/vol). $17

Hãhã Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2019 ••••

This bright-pink blend of merlot and malbec has a fragrant bouquet, leading into a vivacious, dry wine with strong, lively watermelon and spice flavours (12% alc/vol). $18

Forrest Marlborough Rosé 2019 ••••½

Delicious young, this bright-pink wine has vibrant watermelon and strawberry flavours, a hint of spice, fresh acidity, fractional sweetness and a long, lively finish (12.5% alc/vol). $22

Luna Martinborough Rosé 2019 •••••

This lovely wine was partly barrel-fermented. Bright pink, it is floral and sweet-fruited, with strong, yet delicate cherry, strawberry and watermelon flavours, rich, dry and smooth (13% alc/vol). $26

Madam Sass Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 ••••

Scented, pink and lively, this Bendigo wine is crisp and vivacious, with strong, strawberryish, spicy flavours, a sliver of sweetness and refreshing acidity (12.5% alc/vol). $25

Lawson’s Dry Hills Pink Pinot 2019 ••••½

This characterful Marlborough rosé is brimful of flavour. Bright pink, with strawberry, spice and watermelon characters, it has excellent vigour, with a dry, lingering finish (13% alc/vol). $25

Māori Point Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 ••••½

Estate-grown at Tarras, this wine is instantly likeable. Bright pink, it has strong, vivacious strawberry and spice flavours and a finely balanced, slightly sweet finish (13.3% alc/vol). $26

Mission Vineyard Selection Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2019 ••••

This bright-pink, pale-red rosé was blended from red wine varieties. Fresh and lively, it has good depth of vibrant strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours, slightly peachy notes and a finely balanced, dryish finish (13% alc/vol). $20

Main Divide North Canterbury Rosé 2019 ••••

Fresh and buoyant, this is a blend of pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Bright, light pink, it has strong yet delicate flavours of peaches, strawberries and watermelon and a slightly sweet, crisp finish (13% alc/vol). $21

Mount Riley The Bonnie Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2019 •••½

This highly scented, bright-pink wine is a blend of pinot noir and pinot gris. Vibrantly fruity, it has strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours, a hint of peaches and a slightly sweet, smooth finish (12.5% alc/vol). $17

Opawa Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 ••••

This lively wine is instantly appealing. Bright pink, it has strong, vibrant, strawberryish, slightly spicy flavours and is dryish and smooth (11.5% alc/vol). $22

Summerhouse Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2019 ••••

Bright pink, this fresh, mouthfilling wine has good depth of lively watermelon, peach and spice flavours, a splash of sweetness and a very easy-drinking balance (13% alc/vol). $19

Pask Instinct Berry Blush Rosé 2019 •••½

This easy-drinking, merlot-based rosé is light pink, fresh and fruity, with stonefruit and spice flavours. It shows a touch of complexity and has a basically dry, smooth finish (12.5% alc/vol). $17

Q Waitaki Valley Rosé 2019 •••••

This delicious wine was made from pinot noir. Pink/faint orange, it is weighty, dry and smooth, with rich strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours. A finely balanced, complex wine, it’s full of personality. (14% alc/vol). $34

Te Pā Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 ••••

This refined wine is pale pink, with fresh strawberry, peach and spice flavours, showing good delicacy and depth and with a dry finish (12.5% alc/vol). $20

Sherwood Estate Stoney Range Waipara Valley Rosé 2019 ••••

Priced sharply, this is a characterful blend of pinot noir, pinot gris and syrah. Very pale pink, it has strong peach, strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours, a hint of apricot and a crisp, dry finish (12.5% alc/vol). $17

Tohu Nelson Pinot Rosé 2019 ••••

Bright pink/pale red, with fresh, berryish scents and flavours, this is a lively, buoyantly fruity style with a dry finish (13% alc/vol). $18

Terra Sancta Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 •••••

From one vintage to the next, this is one of the country’s leading rosés. Full of youthful vigour, it is bright, pale pink, fresh and appetisingly crisp, with peach, strawberry and spice flavours, a sliver of sweetness and excellent delicacy and depth (13% alc/vol). $28

Vavasour Awatere Valley Marlborough Rosé 2019 •••••

This classy wine is pink/pale red, with loads of youthful vigour and charm. It has fresh, strong strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours and a dry, lasting finish (13% alc/vol). $23

Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 ••••

Bright pink, this vivacious wine has fresh, lively strawberry and spice flavours and a basically dry, appetisingly crisp finish (12.5% alc/vol). $18

Whitehaven Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 ••••½

Attractively scented, this light-pink wine has strawberryish, spicy flavours, peachy notes and a dry, lasting finish. A serious but vivacious wine, it’s delicious now (13% alc/vol). $23

This article was first published in the January 18, 2020 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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