A handy guide to rosé wines

by Michael Cooper / 06 May, 2017
Photo/Getty Images

Photo/Getty Images

For those who can't decide which pink to drink.

Full of drink-young charm, with inviting, bright-pink hues and vibrant, strawberryish, spicy flavours, rosés are soaring in popularity here and overseas. You can choose from well over 100 New Zealand rosés, and their quality has never been better.

Pierrick Bouquet, who founded the world’s first festival devoted exclusively to rosé, says the key factor in its rise is the image it perpetuates of a happy, carefree lifestyle. “It’s the connection between a bottle of rosé and a summertime drive along the French Riviera … drinking rosé is living the life.”

Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2016 ••••

A highly attractive wine that was estate-grown and fermented in tanks (mostly) and barrels. Bright pink, with substantial body (13% alc/vol) and strong, vibrant strawberry/spice flavours, showing a distinct touch of complexity, it’s almost fully dry. $30

Black Cottage Marlborough Rosé 2016 •••½

Pale pink, this is a medium-bodied (12.5% alc/vol), dryish blend of pinot noir and pinot gris. Fresh and smooth, it has lively peach, watermelon, lychee and pear flavours, showing good delicacy and harmony. $18

Church Road Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2016 ••••

Delicious young, this is a merlot-based rosé (86%), with small portions of syrah, malbec and cabernet sauvignon in the blend. Bright pink, it is full-bodied (13% alc/vol), fragrant and fresh, with vibrant red-berry and spice flavours, a hint of watermelon and a slightly off-dry finish. $20

Clearview Black Reef Blush 2016 ••••

Instantly appealing, this Hawke’s Bay rosé has a French hybrid grape variety, chambourcin, boosting its bright-pink/pale-red colour. Vibrantly fruity, it is medium-bodied (12.5% alc/vol), with fresh, berryish, plummy flavours and an off-dry, long, smooth finish. $21

Fromm La Strada Rosé 2016 ••••

A certified-organic Marlborough rosé that was principally blended from pinot noir (85%), with splashes of malbec and syrah. Bright pink, it is floral, full-bodied (13.5% alc/vol) and fresh, with lively watermelon and spice flavours, a hint of apricot and a smooth, bone-dry finish. $23

Gladstone Vineyard Rosé 2016 ••••½

Grown in the northern Wairarapa, this is a pale-pink blend of cabernet franc, merlot and pinot noir, made in a fully dry style. Ripely scented, it is softly mouthfilling (13.5% alc/vol), with gentle strawberry/spice flavours, a hint of peaches and a well-rounded, lingering finish. $25

Graham Norton’s Own Pink by DesiGN Rosé 2016 ••••

A scented, pale-pink blend of Marlborough pinot noir and Hawke’s Bay pinot gris that is delicious now. Medium-bodied (12.5% alc/vol), it has fresh, gentle red-berry, strawberry and spice flavours, with hints of peaches and apricots, and a basically dry, finely poised finish. (From Invivo.) $19

Johanneshof Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé Single Vineyard Maybern 2016 •••••

Full of personality, this powerful rosé (14.5% alc/vol) is from a site at Koromiko, between Picton and Blenheim. Bright pink/very pale red, it is a “serious” yet charming wine, freshly scented and buoyantly fruity, with a lovely surge of plum, strawberry, cherry and spice flavours, strong, off-dry and smooth. $25

Johner Estate Gladstone Pinot Noir Rosé 2016 ••••

Described as “a wine to make you smile”, this bright-pink, appetisingly crisp and lively rosé was grown in the northern Wairarapa. Full-bodied (13.5% alc/vol), it has generous, plummy, berryish flavours and a slightly spicy, dryish finish. Delicious young. $20

Misha’s Vineyard The Soloist Central Otago Pinot Rosé 2016 ••••½

A drink-young charmer, the winery’s first rosé is from estate-grown pinot noir. Bright pink, it is invitingly scented and mouthfilling (13.5% alc/vol), with vibrant, basically dry plum, spice and strawberry flavours, showing excellent freshness, delicacy and depth. $27

Opawa Marlborough Rosé 2016 ••••

An attractive, pale-pink wine made from pinot noir grapes, fermented in tanks and old barrels. Medium-bodied (12.5% alc/vol), it has fresh, gentle strawberry, apricot and spice flavours, showing a touch of complexity, and a dryish, finely poised finish. $22

Oyster Bay Marlborough Rosé 2016 ••••

This is the newest addition to the popular Oyster Bay range. From pinot noir grapes grown in the Wairau Valley, it is a pink/pale-red, vivacious wine, full-bodied (13.2% alc/vol), with dry strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours that are fresh and strong. $20

Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2016 ••••½

Delicious from the start, this is a generous, pale-pink wine with a freshly scented bouquet. Mouthfilling (13.5% alc/vol), with strawberry and spice flavours, it is slightly peachy, with good weight and depth and a dryish, well-rounded finish. Fine value. $19

Sileni Estate Selection Hawke’s Bay Ridge Rosé 2016 •••••

This beauty is from pinot noir, grown at relatively cool sites. Bright pink, it is invitingly scented, mouthfilling (13.5% alc/vol) and smooth, with strong, fresh strawberry, peach and spice flavours and a finely balanced, dry finish. $25

Stables Reserve Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2016 •••½

This sharply priced pink/pale-red rosé was made mostly from merlot. Full-bodied (13% alc/vol), dry and smooth, it has strong, vibrant, red-berry flavours, balanced acidity, and good freshness and immediacy. $14-19

Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2016 •••½

Offering easy drinking, this bright-pink, fresh-scented, full-bodied wine (13% alc/vol) has good depth of vibrant strawberry, peach and spice flavours, with a dryish, well-rounded finish. $17

Summerhouse Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2016 ••••

Already delicious, this pale-pink, mouthfilling rosé (13% alc/vol) has strong strawberry, peach and spice flavours, showing good delicacy, and a dry, smooth finish. Priced sharply. $19

Terra Sancta Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2016 •••••

Consistently one of the country’s best rosés, it is bursting with freshness. Bright pink, the wine is floral, full-bodied (13.5% alc/vol) and vivacious, with vibrant strawberry and spice flavours, woven with appetising acidity, a faint suggestion of sweetness, and lovely poise, delicacy and length. $27

The Elder Martinborough Rosé 2016 ••••½

A delicious rosé made from estate-grown pinot noir. Bright pink, it is freshly scented and weighty (13.5% alc/vol), with strong, vibrant plum and cherry flavours to the fore, hints of strawberries and spices, and a finely balanced, fully dry finish. $33

Tono Hawke’s Bay Rosado 2016 ••••

An instantly likeable rosé made mostly from tempranillo (a classic Spanish variety) and syrah, with a splash of muscat. Bright pink, it is aromatic, lively and full-bodied (13% alc/vol), with appetising acidity, a touch of sweetness and plenty of fresh, strawberryish, peachy flavour. $19

Two Rivers of Marlborough L’Ile de Beauté Rosé 2016 ••••

Pale pink, this is a medium-bodied wine (12.5% alc/vol), made from hand-picked pinot noir. Attractively scented, it is vibrantly fruity, with fresh, strong strawberry and spice flavours, crisp and dry. $24

Villa Maria Private Bin Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2016 •••½

Light pink, this is a smooth, slightly off-dry style, made mostly from merlot. Finely balanced, it is medium-bodied (12.5% alc/vol), with plum, watermelon and spice flavours, showing good delicacy, vibrancy and depth. $17

Wairau River Marlborough Rosé 2016 ••••

From pinot noir, this pale-pink wine has excellent vibrancy and delicacy. Medium-bodied (12.5% alc/vol), it has strong strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours, slightly sweet, lively and smooth. $20

Whitehaven Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2016 ••••½

A bright, pale-pink wine that is fragrant and full-bodied (13% alc/vol) and hard to resist right now. Vibrantly fruity, it has fresh, delicate, strawberryish, spicy flavours, peachy notes, and a finely balanced, dry finish. $23

Wooing Tree Central Otago Rosé 2016 ••••

A bright-pink, scented, dryish wine made from estate-grown pinot noir. Full-bodied (13% alc/vol), it is vibrantly fruity, with strong strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours, lively acidity and a deliciously fresh, smooth finish. $25

This article was first published in the April 15, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.


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