Wine Talk, February 2007 - A Celebration of Rose Wines

Rose` Rose` Rose` - Summer Wine Varietal Feature

I thought I would make February the month of the Rose`, since it is a wine style that has seemingly taken over as our preferred Summer time wine drink. Yes, an improbable thought just a few years ago, it is now a cult wine style sweeping across the nation. Even I finally admitted a while back that this Rosé stuff wasn't such a bad drink, shrugging off any remaining snobbery I had towards it and relishing my new found enjoyment of it alongside a more globally warmed Australian climate. Quite simply Rose` fits in so well with the Australian culture of the beach, outdoor dining, the barbeque and long hot Summer days that it was just meant to be part of it.

So unsurprisingly, we have become subsumed by Rose` upon Rose` with almost every producer hopping on the bandwagon with their version of it. Don't be surprised at the diversity (and overall high quality) of the stuff on the Australian market and the fact that it is made in a variety of ways using pretty much the whole range of red grape varieties. Rose` drinking Summer 2007 really comes down to how you like it and matching this with the wine producer's style. One thing is for sure, you can pretty well expunge any long held bad memories of those fire-engine-red sickly sweet cordial tasting Rosés of many years ago as the quality of winemaking really has improved out of sight. The then problem of a fair few winemakers tending to see Rosé as an afterthought or a remedial act to cure some other winemaking imbalance has since passed.

Nowadays Rose` is typically crafted of its own volition by winemakers. Modern Rosé is about wine of a gloriously alluring pinkish-reddish colour accompanied by fragrantly fresh and uplifted aromas, lively and crisp acidity, and a litany of fruit driven aromas with strawberry, watermelon, cherry and raspberry characters that just deliver succulently on the palate all with mouth-watering flavour. They are also balanced with a lovely mouth feel and acidity to make them easy to drink, glass after glass and perfect with Australian cuisine, its outdoor climate and our cosmopolitan lifestyle. And not to mention, most represent pretty good value!

Now, here's my view on a few good Rosé currently on the market - so be sure to grab one or two during the next month to celebrate the end of Summer;

Annies Lane Clare Valley Rose` 2006

A lovely fire engine crimson red. Vibrant and intense. Lashings of raspberries, red cherries and spicy plums. Really velvety ripe fruit driven, all upfront fruit - all alluring and luscious, yet delivered with a tingling dry finish. Try with Pad Thai noodles. Around $17.

Bremerton Racy Rose`2006

This winery from Langhorne Creek in South Australia consistently impresses me with their good quality, easy to drink and value for money wines. This Rose` is no exception. Slightly confectionary and sweet on the nose with raspberries and strawberries abounding from the glass. Firm crisp acidity with a slightly dry and savoury twist. Try it with bbq prawns. About $17.

Charles Melton Rose Of Virginia 2006

This is one of Australia's benchmark Rose`. One of the ones that all the others get measured against. Deliciously medium dry with lusciously gorgeous strawberries, raspberries and cherry aromas and an ever so slight sweetness of ripe fruit. Try this with Thai octopus salad. $25ish.

Devils Lair Fifth Leg Rose`2006

A reliable easy drinking Western Australian blend of Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet grapes, this has been blended together exceedingly well to emphasise the red fruit characters and the fruit ripeness yet it is all balanced off with good acidity and a dry finish. About $19ish.

Dominique Portet Fontaine Rose` 2006

A gorgeous light salmon coloured wine from the Yarra Valley produced by respected winemaker Dominique Portet. Young, fresh and vibrant reflecting all the good things about a Rose`. Lively fruit driven aromas of raspberry, strawberry, violets and blackcurrants. An elegant style of wine with a lingering soft dry finish. Light and invigorating. Try it with oysters natural. $16ish.

Dowie Doole Rose` 2006

Ripe strawberries and raspberries abound from the glass of this pure and fruit driven classic Summer drinking wine. Delicious and luscious fruit at that. Succulent fruit, mouthfillingly - soft and smooth with a savoury dry style of finish. Try this with an antipasto. $16ish.

Gibbston Valley Blanc de Pinot Noir 2005

This is Rose` - kiwi style. More savoury than fruit driven and reflective of its Pinot Noir origins, it is a more elegant and stylish wine. Light reddish salmon in colour, it has subtle acidity, a soft well roundedness in mouthfeel and lots of delightful rhubarb, strawberry and watermelon flavours. Try this with marinated pork spare ribs. $28ish.

Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz Rose`2006

The quality of winemaking from this Jacobs Creek Reserve label has been extraordinarily good and excellent value. This one is just spot on with lashings of sweet ripe fruit, soft well rounded acidity and a lovely finish that just lingers strawberry and blackberry fruit nuances. Perfect with a mezze`platter. Well priced at $16, but found widely for less.

Juniper Crossing Rose` 2006

This one comes from the Margaret River in Western Australia. Gloriously salmon pink, the aromatics are fresh and lively. A vibrant Rose` resplendent with strawberries, raspberries and watermelon. All luscious ripe fruit and imparted with a delicious mouthfeel. Just right acidity makes for a well rounded wine. Try it with gourmet pizza. $16ish.

Mount Majura Rose` 2006

This Canberra produced wine made from Pinot Noir is a lovely salmon cherry red and has a glorious ripe fruit driven nose full of strawberries and raspberries. Succulent and luscious, a delight to drink. Very good acidity with a lively fresh texture. A touch savoury on the finish. Try this with gourmet pizza. $15ish.

Oyster Bay Merlot Rose` 2006

A New Zealand Rose`. A delightful salmon pink coloured wine with loads of red cherries, strawberries, raspberries and spicy plums. Fruit driven yet with a savoury finish with soft acidity. Easy drinking with oysters' kilpatrick. $17ish.

Palandri Baldavis Estate Rose` 2006

This one comes from Western Australia. It resonates of lifted fragrant strawberries, raspberries and red cherries. Citrine undertones, lightly confectionery with a sweet / dry profile. Lively acidity supports the fruit characters resulting in a well rounded wine with a long finish. Try this with stir fried king prawns. Drink now. $15 ish.

Parri Estate Rose`2005

A fresh gorgeous salmon light pink colour. Quite dry at first then the fruit opens up with lots of strawberry, raspberry and violet fragrances. An elegant wine that has quite a sweet and sour nature. The ripe fruit flavours come through but they are imparted in a dry lively crisp acidic finish. A really good food wine to try with Pad Thai noodles. Around $16. Drink now.

Penley Estate Over the Moon Rose`2006

A bright superbly rose pink coloured wine that is composed predominantly of a blend of Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Merlot red grapes. It oozes strawberries and raspberries on the aroma. Lively, fresh and quite dry in mouthfeel, it is an easy drinking style of wine. A very good Summer's afternoon's drop to have with grilled bbq scallops. About $15.

Pepperjack Grenache Rose` 2005

This is an excellent Rose`. Deep crimson fire engine red. Made from Old Barossa Grenache. Resplendent with strawberries, red cherries, and raspberries abounding. A wisp of spicy plums. Soft and well rounded with a smooth berry fruit finish on the palate. $20ish.

Preece Rose` 2006

A wonderful mix of being fruit driven as well as having a savoury edge and good acidity to it so that it is not sickly sweet nor austere to drink. This one has it all and at a reasonable price. Top notch summer drinking, well balanced, fruit focused and with a good length. $15ish.

Shottesbrooke McLaren Vale Merlotte Rose` 2006

Blood tomato red colour. Gorgeously uplifted berry fruit aromatics. Succulent and luscious with strawberry and raspberry flavours. Fruit driven with light acidity. Light and breezy in style and delicious to drink. Try this with grilled lamb kebabs. $15ish.

Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir Rose` 2006

A gorgeous fire engine red colour. Beautifully fruit driven in aroma with lashings of strawberry, watermelon and red cherries. Luscious and succulent to savour with a touch of ripe fruit sweetness. All of this is well married with soft acidity and a long delicious finish. Try with smoked salmon salad. $19ish.

Wyndham Estate Bin 505 Shiraz Rose`2006

This is like drinking liquid strawberries and raspberries. Alcoholic ones at that. Really good Rosé making here with seamless perfectly balanced fruit driven flavours alongside soft acidity. Succulent, fresh and lively, this just drinks beautifully. Try it with salt and pepper calamari. At about $14, there really isn't any excuse not to try some.

Yering Station Pinot Noir Rose`2005

No sweet ripe fruit here rather a more subtle subdued but nice set of strawberry, raspberry and violet aromas. Yes quite floral and enticing on the nose but the palate is really where it happens with a savoury dimension, good acidity and a lingering well rounded tending to dry finish all highlighting the fruit characters in a balanced manner. Perfect with an antipasto. About $17.

Paul Ippolito writes about wine for publications across Australia, overseas and the Internet. He speaks on radio and writes a free monthly wine newsletter for consumers. Paul can be contacted by email at where you can also request to be placed on his mailing list for his newsletter. or visit his website at:

2007 Reviews

Wine Talk - January 2007
Wine Talk - February 2007
Wine Talk - March 2007
Wine Talk - April 2007

2006 Reviews

Wine Talk - January 06
Wine Talk - February 06
Wine Talk - March 06
Wine Talk - April 06
Wine Talk - May 06
Wine Talk - June 06
Wine Talk - July 06
Wine Talk - August 06
Wine Talk - September 06
Wine Talk - October 06
Wine Talk - November 06
Wine Talk - December 06

2005 Reviews

Wine Talk - March 05
Wine Talk - April 05
Wine Talk - May 05
Wine Talk - June 05
Wine Talk - July 05
Wine Talk - August 05
Wine Talk - September 05
Wine Talk - October 05
Wine Talk - November 05
Wine Talk - December 05

Meet Paul Ippolito - The Mystery of Wine Tasting



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