Top rosé wines for summer sipping

by Michael Cooper / 18 January, 2019
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Not just for the ladies, rosé is a worldwide wine phenomenon.

Is rosé a colour or a lifestyle? The latest sales figures suggest more and more of us have been seduced by the idyllic image of a laid-back lifestyle in sunny coastal climes, sipping a glass or two of slightly chilled rosé.

The French are the biggest fans of rosé, especially in summer, but in the UK, sales spike around Valentine’s Day. Here, the standard of rosé has soared over the past five years. A bewildering array of new labels has arrived on the shelves and sales are skyrocketing – up 50% year-on-year.

In the past, pink (often pale-salmon-coloured) wine was especially popular with women, but so many men are now enjoying it, a new term has emerged – brosé.

Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 ••••½

This delicious wine has an inviting, bright-pink hue. Made in a slightly off-dry style, it has fresh, lively strawberry, watermelon, plum and spice flavours, balanced acidity and excellent depth. (13% alc/vol). $30

Astrolabe Comelybank Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2018 •••••

This classy wine is a blend of pinot noir (85%) and pinot gris (15%). Pale pink, it is weighty, with strong, fresh peach, strawberry and spice flavours and a very harmonious, fully dry, long finish. (13.5% alc/vol). $25

Aurum Central Otago Pinot Gris Rosé 2018 ••••½

Delicious when drunk young, this very pale-pink wine was made from estate-grown, hand-picked pinot gris grapes, held on their skins for several days to extract colour. Full-bodied, it has concentrated, peachy, slightly spicy flavours. It is fresh, dry and well-rounded. Certified organic. (14% alc/vol). $28

Brightside Organic Blush 2018 ••••

Also certified organic, this is a light-pink, very attractive Nelson wine. Freshly scented, it is full-bodied and lively, with strawberry, watermelon and peach flavours, showing excellent delicacy and vibrancy and a dry finish. Fine value from Kaimira Estate. (13.5% alc/vol). $17

Forrest Marlborough Rosé 2018 ••••

This floral, bright-pink charmer is a pinot noir/malbec blend. Smooth and lively, it has strong peach and watermelon flavours, a hint of apricot and a dryish finish. (12.5% alc/vol). $22

Dashwood New Zealand Rosé 2018 ••••

This vivacious wine makes no claims about regional origin or varieties, but offers great value. Bright, light pink, it is a smooth, medium-bodied wine with fresh, delicate plum, cherry and strawberry flavours and is very finely balanced for wide appeal. Ready to roll. (12% alc/vol). $16

Brightwater Vineyards Sophie’s Kiss Nelson Rosé 2018 ••••½

This floral, bright-pink, mouthfilling wine is delicious from the start. Slightly off-dry, it is very finely balanced, with excellent weight and depth of watermelon, strawberry and spice flavours, subtle and lingering. (13% alc/vol). $22

Opawa Marlborough Rosé 2018 ••••

This lively wine was hand-picked and handled in tanks (mostly) and old barrels. Pale pink, it is already drinking well, with a fragrant bouquet, generous peach, strawberry and spice flavours, fresh acidity and a smooth, dryish, lingering finish. (11.5% alc/vol). $22

Misha’s Vineyard The Soloist Central Otago Pinot Rosé 2018 ••••½

From pinot noir estate-grown at Bendigo, this bright-pink, mouthfilling wine has strong, vibrant red-berry, plum and strawberry flavours that are dry, finely poised, smooth and lingering. (13.5% alc/vol). $27

Georges Road Les Terrasses Waipara Rosé 2018 •••••

This classy wine was made from syrah grapes. Pink, with a fresh, spicy fragrance, it is vibrantly fruity, with strong-yet-delicate plum and watermelon flavours, a hint of apricot and a crisp, dry finish. Full of personality, it’s well worth discovering. (12.3% alc/vol). $22

Redmetal Vineyards Bridge Pa Triangle Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Franc Rosé 2018 •••••

Full of personality, this bright, light-pink wine is fresh, mouthfilling and lively, with strong yet delicate flavours of strawberry and watermelon, and a dry, slightly peachy, poised, persistent finish. (13.5% alc/vol). $22

Mondillo Central Otago Rosé 2018 ••••½

Freshly scented, with a pink/pale-red hue, this very lively wine was made from pinot noir, estate-grown at Bendigo. Mouthfilling and vibrantly fruity, it has strong, red-berry and watermelon flavours, a sliver of sweetness, appetising acidity and a smooth finish. (13.5% alc/vol). $28

Montana Reserve Marlborough Rosé 2018 ••••

Bargain-priced, this bright, light-pink wine is fragrant, with fresh, vibrant strawberry, apricot and spice flavours, a hint of sweetness, a slightly creamy texture and loads of drink-young appeal. (12.5% alc/vol). $17

Terra Sancta Bannockburn Central Otago Rosé 2018 •••••

One of the country’s finest rosés, this wine was mostly handled in tanks, but 30% was fermented and aged in seasoned French oak barriques. Bright, light pink, it is fragrant, mouthfilling and smooth with lovely depth of fresh, vibrant strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours, hints of peach and apricot and a finely textured, dry finish. (13% alc/vol). $28

Mahi Marlborough Rosé 2018 ••••½

This impressive wine was made from pinot noir grown in the Wairau Valley. Bright, pale pink, it is floral with strong, delicate strawberry, watermelon and spice flavours and a dry, lingering finish. (12.2% alc/vol). $23

Neudorf Pinot Rosé 2018 •••••

This distinctive, very pale-pink wine was made from pinot noir hand-picked at Upper Moutere in Nelson. Fermented with indigenous yeasts, mostly in tanks but also in barrels, it’s a “serious” but delicious rosé. Fully dry, with peachy, slightly spicy and strawberryish flavours, it shows notable depth, complexity and harmony. (13% alc/vol). $25

Main Divide North Canterbury Rosé 2018 ••••

Fresh and vivacious, this is a blend of pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Light pink, it is vibrantly fruity, with strong strawberry and spice flavours, threaded with appetising acidity and a dry, lingering finish. (12% alc/vol). $21

Vidal Reserve Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2018 ••••½

This attractive wine is merlot-based, with splashes of pinot noir and syrah. Pale pink, it is full-bodied, with vibrant peach, apricot, spice and watermelon flavours, showing excellent depth and a very harmonious, dry finish. (13% alc/vol). $20

Two Rivers New Zealand Isle of Beauty Rosé 2018 ••••½

From Marlborough’s southern valleys, this is a unique blend of pinot noir, syrah, viognier, pinot gris, riesling and roussanne. Pale pink, it is fragrant with excellent depth of fresh strawberry, spice and watermelon flavours, hints of peach and apricot and a crisp, dry, persistent finish. (12.5% alc/vol). $24

Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 ••••

Instantly appealing, this pale-pink, scented, medium-bodied wine has vivacious watermelon and spice flavours. An off-dry style suffused with fresh acidity, it offers great value. (12.5% alc/vol). $17

Vavasour Awatere Valley Marlborough Rosé 2018 •••••

This delicious, light-pink, mouthfilling, pinot noir-based wine has fresh acidity and strong watermelon, strawberry, peach and spice flavours. A vivacious, dry style, it shows lovely depth, delicacy and harmony. (13% alc/vol). $23

Wither Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 ••••

Bright pink, this is a charming, skilfully balanced wine. Fresh and medium-bodied, it has lively flavours of watermelon and strawberry, hints of peach and apricot, and a dry, finely poised finish. A good buy. (12.5% alc/vol). $18

Terrace Edge North Canterbury Rosé 2018 •••••

Offering unusual flavour depth for a rosé, this organically certified wine was made from syrah. Pink/very pale red, it is mouthfilling and vibrant, with strong, finely balanced red-berry, plum and spice flavours, fresh acidity and a lasting, off-dry finish. (13.5% alc/vol). $22

Tohu Nelson Pinot Rosé 2018 ••••

Estate-grown at Upper Moutere, this bright, light-pink wine was made from pinot noir. It is fresh and vibrant, with strawberry, spice and watermelon flavours, showing very good delicacy, balance and depth. (12% alc/vol). $18

Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough Rosé 2018 ••••½

This distinctive, pale-pink wine was estate-grown, hand-picked and made with some use of barrel fermentation. A characterful wine, full of interest, it is very vibrant, with delicate, peachy, spicy flavours showing distinct complexity, fresh acidity and a long, dry finish. (13% alc/vol). $23

This article was first published in the January 12, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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