Think pink

Rosé topped the wine world’s “what’s hot?” list in 2010. Wine drinkers from Peking to Paris are switching to pale pink wines. Nobody’s quite sure why. Perhaps global warming is encouraging people to choose a truly thirst-quenching wine or maybe the growing interest in spicy Asian-inspired dishes is also stimulating interest in Rosé, its perfect partner? One cynic suggested that Rosé is on the rise because more and more people can’t decide whether to drink red or white. Rosé represents safe middle ground.

I think the rise and rise of Rosé is a direct result of more people having enjoyed a holiday in the south of France. Talk to any Rosé lover and there’s a good chance their passion was kindled in Carcassonne, Avignon or some other sun-soaked southern French town. I developed a healthy appetite for Rosé in the small village of Marseillette.

Most Kiwis soon discover a local Rosé or two that are at least as good, and probably less expensive, than the French version. I admit that French Rosé is a wonderful match with the rich and rustic cuisine of southern France but New Zealand Rosé offers an even better match with spicy Asian-style dishes or for sipping without the complication of food – which is how 90% of wine is enjoyed in this country.

Here are a couple of my favourites. Serve them well-chilled under a shady tree on a hot summer’s day with crusty bread, olives and coarse pâté. Add the sensual, throaty sound of Edith Piaf singing “La Vie en rose” and you can enjoy the pleasures of being in southern France without the language problems.

Tussock Pinot Noir Rose Nelson 2010 – $14.99

This was the only Rosé to win a gold medal (and trophy) at the 2010 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The judges got it absolutely right. It’s a pure, scented and charming wine with crushed strawberry, red cherry and aromatic herb flavours. Off/dry in style but with a pleasantly mouth-tingling drying finish thanks to a backbone of fresh acidity. Pure, focused Rose at a great price. – view on

Neudorf Pinot Rose Nelson 2010 – $22.90

Neudorf earns my vote for making wines of a higher standard, across the board, than any other New Zealand winery. Best known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir this stylish Nelson winery applies the same fastidious methods to making this very smart Rosé. Attractively scented wine with strawberry, pot pourri and wild herb flavours. Initial sweetness is balanced by fine tannins and gentle acidity to give a drying (though not bone dry) finish. Charming wine in a distinctive and individual style. – view on

First published in KiaOra Magazine – Mar 2011.

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