“Real men don’t drink pink drinks” may have been something that was said a year or two ago, but things are changing in wine fashions and all those preconceptions are being turned on their heads.
Rosé wines are the hippest thing around right now and there are a few very good reasons for this. Firstly, the trend has been to move away from sickly sweet Rosés and to move onto the delicate dry ones; the kind that you so happily swig back in the South of France. But these Rosés are not just dry, they are bone-achingly dry. This leads to the second reason why they have become so popular. Dry Rosé goes with almost all types of food, from oysters to sushi, from steak and salad to duck.
Another part of the Rosé movement that it’s interesting is the colour. All pinks are not created equal. In order to entice the drinker, Rosés need to be a particular hue. Some call it “onion skin”, others call it “partridge eye” (yes – a partridge’s eye is light pink), but the wine needs to be a delicate shade of pink and not a dark colour, erring on the side of a light-bodied Pinot Noir. In fact, Warwick Wine Estate in Stellenbosch has gone a step further and has actually specified the colour according to a Pantone number. If the drinker is this specific, then surely the producer should be too.
Rosé can be made in two ways. The first way is the cheapest and does not produce the best quality. It’s basically taking a white wine and adding a little red wine until it’s the desired colour. The second way, which can produce really delicious wines, is making the wine from red grapes. The grapes are crushed and left on their red skins for a few hours (to get the pink colour) and then the wines are pressed, removed from their skins and fermented into wine in the manner of a white wine.
Hopefully the top 10 winners of the Rosé Rocks competition that was held recently (see list below), make their wines in the second and not the first way. 160 South African Rosé wines were entered into what must have been the most interesting tasting, to emerge with a top 10 South African Rosés, as well as an overall winner. So the message this summer is clear: Rosé wines are smoking hot, when served icy cold. And yes, it is acceptable to put ice in it. Cheers!
Top 10 rosé wines in South Africa 2015:
- Arabella Pink Panacea 2015
- Brampton Rosé 2015
- Eagle’s Cliff Shiraz Rosé 2015
- Fat Bastard Pinot Noir Rosé 2014
- Noble Hill Mourvèdre Rosé 2015
- Noble Savage Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2015
- Signal Gun Rosé 2015
- Slanghoek Vinay Rosé Natural Sweet 2015
- Tamboerskloof Katharien Syrah Rosé 2015
- Warwick The First Lady Dry Rosé 2015
Overall winner: Tamboerskloof Katharien Syrah Rosé 2015
Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright is a Cape Wine Master.