A rosé by another name

His brand name L.A.S. Vino stands for Luck, Art and Science, the three ingredients of successful winemaking. (Photo: Huon Hooke)

It’s been a bugbear of mine for years that still rosé wines are not as good as they should be. If Champagne can produce great and high-value sparkling rosés, where are the still rosés of that level?

He recently gave me a taste of four components of his Albino PNO 2017, which is a rosé by another name, composed of pinot noir and chardonnay.

Few winemakers seem to make much of an effort. Perhaps rosé is still seen as a non-serious wine. Nic Peterkin, of Margaret River, is one who is having a red-hot go.

His L.A.S. Vino wines have been impressing for some years – and he won the Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine Young Winemaker of the Year in 2016. He continues to push the envelope.

His brand name L.A.S. Vino stands for Luck, Art and Science, the three ingredients of successful winemaking. He recently gave me a taste of four components of his Albino PNO 2017, which is a rosé by another name, composed of pinot noir and chardonnay. It showed that Peterkin went to unusual lengths to try to make something out of the box. It is a delicious wine and the four components provided a rare insight into why it is so good.

The four components were:

  1. Chardonnay whole-bunch pressed, barrel-fermented, underwent a malolactic fermentation and was left in old oak for a year. A classic regional chardonnay with cashew, creamy lees and stone-fruit aromas, a ripping wine by itself.
  2. Pinot noir similarly whole-bunch pressed and fermented in old oak, where it was also left for a year and underwent malo. Like the chardonnay, it wasn’t fermented on skins, but it still had picked up plenty of colour. Dark rosé colour and full-bodied rosé palate, wonderfully perfumed and complex; strawberry, raspberry; light tannins.
  3. Chardonnay on pinot noir skins. The chardonnay was destemmed and left on its skins for 24 hours, then separated from the skins and put onto pinot noir skins for another 24 hours before being racked to barriques for fermentation. It also remained there for a year. It was wonderfully complex, beguiling and smelled of rosewater, smoky pinot, toasty chardonnay and spice, with slinky texture. My favourite.
  4. Pinot noir on chardonnay skins. The pinot noir was destemmed and left on its skins for 24 hours before being racked onto chardonnay skins, where it was left to ferment for 10 days before being transferred to oak for a year. It was rich and fruity with a glorious texture which included a wisp of tannin.

All of these component wines were delicious on their own, but the blend was the moment of truth. How did the Albino PNO come together?

It was finally composed of 78% of the straight pinot noir, 10% of the pinot on chardonnay skins, 9% of the straight chardonnay and 3% of the chardonnay on pinot skins. It’s a gorgeous wine that combines all of the above nuances, and then some. It’s AUD $55 a bottle, which is dear for a rosé – but then it’s not a rosé. Or is it?!

Peterkin says: “The aim was to create strawberries and cream in a glass.”

Cheers to that.

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