Pink is an unabashedly feminine and festive summery colour. Now this may be a gender issue, but my love of all things pink most definitely extends to wine too. Apparently I’m not alone, for the popularity of rosé wines is going only one way in SA, and that’s up.
I first discovered the wondrousness of a proper rosé in what I consider its birthplace, the south of France. Back then South Africa still had a frightful penchant for bright cerise/way-too-close-to-red rosé wines that were often sweet. And for me that’s not the point of rosé. I want it pale salmon/blush – what the French call onionskin. And I want it on the dry side with lovely fruit and enough acid to keep it from being flabby.
Rosé wines have come a seriously long way in the last 15 years and today we’re spoilt for choice. Our annual Rosé Rocks contest has been going for a while and an independent judging panel (which tastes blind) levels the playing field between high priced and low priced rosé wines in a most interesting way. One of my all-time favourites, De Grendel’s rosé got a double gold this year, which pleased me mightily. So too the offering from Mulderbosch. But, and this is a big but, don’t limit yourself to exploring only these pink winners, because there is an enjoyably obscene variety for you to choose from for your summer sipping.
A while ago I was fortunate enough to go to Vinimark’s annual Wine Trade Fair. These events are seriously handy because they give one a chance to do some concentrated tasting in a short time. I’ll share some more of the gems I tasted in the coming weeks but first up – because summer is so knocking on our doors – a short list of the rosé wines I loved and will be enjoying at leisure this festive season.
For the serious winos out there, I am including RS (residual sugar), TA (total acidity) and alcohol percentage. Nearest available online price I could find at time of publication is also listed. Here goes, and in no particular order of preference:
Delaire Graff Rose (Cabernet Franc) 2018 – R83
Unusually, this rosé is 100% Cabernet Franc grapes. The terrible drought in the Cape hit all vineyards, making 2018 one of the most challenging harvests in years with reduced yields. The result is not bad though, because it makes for a wine with fabulously concentrated flavour. Grapes were handpicked early in the morning from selected vineyards on the Helshoogte (which I’ve cycled up – crying all the way – many a time) and Helderberg mountain. The wine was fermented for three weeks at cool 14 degree Celsius temperatures and then left on the primary lees. You’ll find fruity strawberry, berries and candyfloss on the nose. This translates into darker berries and a creaminess on the palate with a pleasantly long dry finish. The Delaire Graff Cab Franc rosé got the nod in the 2018 Rosé Rocks competition with a gold medal awarded to it.
Glen Carlou Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 – R86
Glen Carlou is a relative newcomer to the world of pink, but I’m ever so happy that they have gone there. Their offering is made from hand harvested 100% Pinot Noir grapes from the Simonsberg-Paarl ward. Wine maker Johnnie Calitz tried to preserve a delicate fruit/acid balance when making their 2018. On the nose there’s bursting raspberry and a touch of citrus. This translates into loads of red berries on the palate with a slight floral rose undertone plus a touch of slight and very pleasing minerality. The grapes were whole bunch pressed with a cool ferment. It’s crisp, subtly fruity and moreish.
RS 1.0 g/l