It’s a month till Mother’s Day. Start planning now with our guide to pretty, blush-coloured rosé wines
Words: Pip Patterson
Rosé is a complicated varietal to discuss as there are so many styles. The colour of rosé is derived from the skin of red wine grapes (red grapes actually have a clear juice if squeezed off the vine). This means that a variety of red grapes can be used to produce a rosé. Generally, for lighter styles of rosé you should choose a pinot noir rosé, and for heavier and more structured styles go with a “Bordeaux” style (that is wines from one, all, or a combination of merlot, malbec, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc). The latter will typically come from the top of the North Island (Hawke’s Bay, Waiheke, Auckland and Northland).
Top tip: Young is best
A key point for rosé is to make sure you’re drinking from a current vintage, so go for a 2017 vintage right now. Some 2016 rosés will be suitable, but where you have the choice go current.
How to choose
- Colour is not necessarily a reliable indicator of the style a rosé will be. The colour can come from one of two processes in the winery; the time the skins are left in contact with the wine, or the addition of some of the red wine juice from the early stages of the winemaking process.
- This means that generally lighter styles such as a pinot noir rosé could be quite light in colour or quite dark pink, depending on what colour and style the winemaker wants to make. So don’t pick on colour, pick on style – what varietal of rosé you prefer.
- However, recently there has been a big influx of Spanish and French rosés into New Zealand, which are generally more of a salmon colour than a pink (or if pink, a very light shade). These tend to be much dryer than local styles of rosé, and really suit a very hot day and the wine being well chilled, so the balanced acidity feels good on the palate.
- New Zealand rosé styles don’t require as much chilling, which allows for the delicious strawberry, raspberry and floral characters to open up further.
While it’s perfectly enjoyable to drink rosé on its own, this wine can also handle a complex platter of meats, cheeses and antipasto. Alternatively, try matching your rosé with some fresh New Zealand alpine salmon, light pasta dishes, prawn salad or a good Spanish paella.
Above from left: The Ned Rosé, RRP$16.99, Chapoutier Pays d’Oc Rosé, RRP$17.99, Ara Single Estate Rosé, RRP$19.99, Jacob’s Creek Le Petit Rosé, RRP$18.99, Tohu Pinot Rosé, RRP$17.99.