Joshua Cooper’s wine adventures

Joshua Cooper is interested in letting the vineyard express itself. Different Drop

Joshua Cooper is making some of the most compelling and adventurous wines around. He works in the Macedon Ranges region, utilising the winery and equipment of his parents at their Cobaw Ridge vineyard, but he also sources grapes from other parts of central and western Victoria, such as Bendigo, Sunbury and the Pyrenees as well as Macedon.

“This incarnation of our rosé is inspired by two of my great wine loves, the wines of Clos Cibonne and Château Simone, offering a mid-way point between complexity and structure and outright drinkability.” – Joshua Cooper

Joshua has experience working in Burgundy, Chablis and Portugal, as well as several high-level Australian wineries including Tyrrell’s, Yabby Lake, Hewitson, Chapoutier Australia, and Hanging Rock Winery.

He holds a degree in oenology and viticulture from the University of Adelaide. He’s judged in several wine shows and was included in the Len Evans Tutorial in 2019.

He’s interested in letting the vineyard express itself and is into minimal intervention. The only thing he adds to his wines is a small addition of sulphur dioxide.

The latest wine to impress me is the 2023 Joshua Cooper Rosé (AUD $45), made with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and cabernet franc grapes sourced from Central and Western Victoria (mainly Macedon Ranges and Pyrenees).

He says:

“This incarnation of our rosé is inspired by two of my great wine loves, the wines of Clos Cibonne and Château Simone, offering a mid-way point between complexity and structure and outright drinkability. They also age exceptionally well.”

The first thing that you notice is that it has an onion-skin colour—not vivid purple-pink like most young Australian rosés. And it’s not 100% filter-bright, no doubt because it was bottled without filtration. The developed colour suggests there has been some barrel maturation and also deliberate oxidation of the juice pre-fermentation. By doing this, Joshua has removed the harsher tannins, but equally importantly—in my view—removed the varietal characteristics of early-picked merlot and cabernet, which are not so attractive in rosé wines.

In fact, Joshua tells me, the juice was allowed to oxidise before fermentation, and about 60% was fermented in seasoned puncheons. The wine was also left on its lees for the best part of a year before bottling, to enhance the texture.

Premature development is frowned upon in most judging circles but is actually sometimes an advantage in a rosé like this one. Far from the piercing, strident fruit aromas of many rosés, this one has a complexity of aromas: dried fruit abounds on the nose, with suggestions of quince jelly and blood orange. In the mouth, it’s lively and fresh, crisp and appetising, with good acidity augmenting its rich and silky mouth-feel. The finish is properly dry but soft, and lingers on well.

It’s a rosé with a difference—a rosé of real character and distinction. I could drink several glasses of it—and isn’t that what rosé should be all about?

Joshua Cooper Rosé


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