Homegrown rosé: The best of New Zealand's pink wine

by Michael Cooper / 18 January, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - Rose wine

Tickled pink: rosé wine is on the up. Photo/Getty Images

More people are reaching for a home-grown tinted tipple of rosé.

Is pink the new black? You can now select from more than 150 rosés, grown from Northland to Central Otago. Times have changed since 2000, when judges at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards chose not to award the trophy for champion rosé – which was no surprise, given the complete absence of medal winners, gold, silver or bronze.

“Rosé is relatively easy to make,” says Shayne Cox, of Kaimira Estate, Nelson. “It can be released early for quick cash flow and can be made from multiple varieties.” North Island rosés, usually merlot-based, and South Island rosés, produced mostly from pinot noir, are made by crushing the grapes and leaving their clear juice in contact with the blue/black skins just long enough to turn pink.

If you haven’t tasted this new wave of rosés, don’t miss out. Fans adore them as “light and summery”, “pink and pretty” or “full of flavour, like a red but still light and refreshing, like a white”.

Retailers report that rosé is enjoying especially strong demand from women and young people, but men are buying it, too – some like to call it brosé.

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017 ••••

Ready to roll, this is a pale-pink blend of pinot noir, syrah and cabernet franc. Full-bodied (13% alc/vol), it is fresh and lively, with strong strawberry, peach and spice flavours and a finely balanced, dry finish. $20

Bellbird Spring Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 ••••½

This is a serious, flavour-packed style from Waipara, fermented in old oak barrels and made in a dry style. Pale pink/slightly orange, it is medium-bodied (12% alc/vol), with fresh, peachy, spicy flavours, showing unusual depth and complexity. Good for this summer. $27

Graham Norton’s Own Pink by Design Rosé 2017 ••••

This vivacious wine, blended from pinot noir (mostly), pinot gris and sauvignon blanc, was grown in Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay. Fresh-scented, it is a vibrantly fruity, medium-bodied wine (12.5% alc/vol), with gentle strawberry and spice flavours, peachy notes and a slightly sweet, finely balanced finish. (From Invivo.) $19

 

Jules Taylor Gisborne Rosé 2017 ••••

Merlot-based, this bright-pink, mouthfilling wine (13% alc/vol) has vibrant, strawberryish flavours, hints of peaches and spices and a finely balanced, fully dry finish. Delicious young. $24

Kim Crawford Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017 •••½

Appealing from the start, this pale-pink, full-bodied wine (13% alc/vol) has fresh, gentle strawberry, spice and peach flavours and a dryish, finely balanced, lingering finish. Fine value. $17

Lime Rock Central Hawke’s Bay Pinot Rosé 2017 ••••

This attractive wine was made from pinot noir, estate-grown in Central Hawke’s Bay. Bright pink, it is mouthfilling (13% alc/vol), fresh and vibrant, with good intensity of watermelon and strawberry flavours, hints of peaches and apricots and an off-dry finish. $22

Maori Point Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 ••••

Grown at Tarras, in the Cromwell Basin, this single-vineyard wine is bright pink, with an inviting fragrance. Vibrantly fruity and full-bodied (13.5% alc/vol), it is bursting with raspberry and plum flavours, off-dry and appetisingly crisp. $20

Mission Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017 •••½

Bright pink/pale red, this is a merlot-based charmer, with splashes of malbec, syrah and cabernet franc. Mouthfilling (13% alc/vol), with vibrant, plummy, berryish flavours, showing good delicacy and depth, it’s an off-dry, harmonious wine, drinking well from the start. $18 

Montana Reserve Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017 •••½

Priced right, this pink, mouthfilling wine (13% alc/vol) was blended mostly from merlot and pinot gris. It offers fresh, generous flavours of peaches and strawberries in a slightly sweet, seductively smooth style. $17

Obsidian Waiheke Island Estate Rosé 2017 ••••

Bright pink, with an inviting floral bouquet, this is a hand-picked, merlot-based wine. Vibrantly fruity, it has good body (13% alc/vol), with plum, strawberry and spice flavours, fresh acidity and a long, dry finish. $27

Opawa Marlborough Rosé 2017 ••••

Grown at Rapaura, this delicious Wairau Valley wine is from hand-picked pinot noir grapes, fermented in tanks (mostly) and old oak barrels. Pale pink, it is medium-bodied (12% alc/vol), fresh, delicate and vibrant, with watermelon and spice flavours, a hint of apricot and a dry, lingering finish. (From Nautilus Estate.) $22

Oyster Bay Marlborough Rosé 2017 ••••½

This distinctive, highly satisfying wine is from pinot noir grown in the Wairau Valley. Full of personality, it is pale pink, with an enticingly scented bouquet. Full-bodied (13.5% alc/vol) and fleshy, it has strong, vibrant red-berry and plum flavours, with a gentle touch of tannin giving backbone, and a lasting, dry finish. Fine value. $20

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 ••••

Certified organic, this highly appealing wine was estate-grown at Bendigo. Bright, pale pink, it is freshly scented and medium- to full-bodied (12.5% alc/vol), with good depth of vibrant peach, spice and slight apricot flavours and a smooth, dryish finish. $27

Rabbit Ranch Central Otago Rosé 2017 ••••

Enticingly packaged, this pale-pink, mouthfilling rosé (13% alc/vol) is a dry style made from pinot noir. Ready to roll, it is vibrantly fruity, with fresh, delicate strawberry, peach and spice flavours, dry and smooth. (From Chard Farm.) $24

Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2017 ••••

Delicious young, this is a bright, light-pink wine with a fresh, floral bouquet. Mouthfilling (13% alc/vol), it has lively watermelon, spice and peach flavours, with a finely balanced, slightly sweet, crisp finish. $19

Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017 ••••

Offering top value, this appealing wine was made with a small proportion of barrel fermentation. Bright, light pink, it is fresh and medium-bodied (12.5% alc/vol), with vibrant watermelon, peach and spice flavours and a finely balanced, dryish finish. $17

Scott Base Central Otago Pinot Rosé 2017 ••••½

From Allan Scott, this scrumptious, pale-pink blend of pinot gris and pinot noir was estate-grown near Cromwell. Scented and mouthfilling (13.5% alc/vol), it is finely balanced, with an array of peach, spice, strawberry and watermelon flavours, showing excellent delicacy, fractional sweetness and a persistent finish. $22

Selaks Reserve Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017 •••½

An attractive, easy-drinking wine that is bright, light-pink, fresh and mouthfilling (13% alc/vol), with good depth of plum, spice and watermelon flavours that are lively, slightly sweet and smooth. Good value. $16

Sileni Estate Selection Hawke’s Bay Ridge Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 ••••½

Pale pink, this is a vibrantly fruity, weighty, full-bodied wine (13% alc/vol), with excellent intensity of peach, apricot, watermelon and spice flavours, a gentle touch of tannin and a dry, lasting finish. $25

Summerhouse Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2017 ••••

Labelling this wine “pinot”, rather than pinot noir, suggests the inclusion of pinot gris. Pale pink, it is fresh-scented and full-bodied (13% alc/vol), with vibrant watermelon and peach flavours, dryish, crisp, lively and lingering. Fine value. $19

Terra Sancta Bannockburn Pinot Noir Central Otago Rosé 2017 •••••

Bursting with freshness, this beauty was mostly handled in tanks, but part of the blend was fermented and aged in old French oak casks. Bright pink, it is highly scented and vivacious, with mouthfilling body (13% alc/vol), an array of plum, red-berry, strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours, showing lovely depth and harmony, and a dry finish. $26

Two Rivers of Marlborough Isle of Beauty Rosé 2017 ••••

Grown in the Southern Valleys, this is a youthful, single-vineyard wine made from pinot noir. Pale pink, it is medium-bodied (12.5% alc/vol), with fresh, lively strawberry, spice and peach flavours that are crisp, delicate and dry. $24

Unison Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017 ••••

Veering slightly towards a light red in style, this blend of merlot and syrah is floral, vibrantly fruity and berryish. Pale red, it is medium-bodied (12% alc/vol), with lots of drink-young charm and a dry finish. $22

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir Marlborough Rosé 2017 ••••½

Instantly appealing, this bright-pink wine is medium-bodied (12.5% alc/vol), with good intensity of vibrant watermelon and strawberry flavours that are mouth-wateringly crisp, dry, racy and long. $18

Wooing Tree Central Otago Rosé 2017 ••••

From estate-grown pinot noir grapes, hand-picked in the Cromwell Basin, this is a bright-pink, scented, dry wine. Fresh and vibrantly fruity, it is full-bodied (13% alc/vol), with lively berry, watermelon and spice flavours, finely balanced and lingering. $27

This article was first published in the January 13, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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