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As the clocks go forward this weekend and we are reminded that its time to replace the batteries in the smoke detectors, its also the time to think about stocking up the fridge for the long, warm evenings ahead.
At our place, its rosé that starts to take over the fridge about now.
While its always pink in colour, rosé is a chameleon of a wine and has the ability to suit a variety of occasions.
Styles vary from vibrant pink, sweet and bursting with ripe berry flavours great for picnics and barbecues, to pale, subtle and savoury drops that are great at the dinner table.
In the past, I reckon that choosing a rosé was a bit like a game of Russian roulette, though less lethal. The quality of the wines could be a bit hit and miss but quality has reflected demand as the style has become more popular over the past few years and rosé in Australia has never been better.
Last year there was a determined push by many wineries under the Rosé Revolution banner to produce and promote rosé that had the three qualities that are the hallmarks of the best European styles dry, savoury and textural.
These are serious wines, with the grapes specifically selected to make rosé (as opposed to many rosés that are actually a byproduct of red winemaking).
Interestingly, rosé can be, and is, made using a wide range of grapes.
From pinot noir to sangiovese and shiraz to grenache, rosé can show off some of the more subtle notes of these grapes that arent always seen when theyre a red.
The wines display myriad aromas and flavours, from summer berries and watermelon to citrus and heady Turkish delight notes (yep, really), and the best examples have a combination that continually draws you in for another sniff and a sip. They are generally fermented in old oak barrels and then left in situ to mature for a few months to achieve texture, a hint of tannin and complexity.
You can usually tell if a rosé has been treated in such a way the time in barrel also allows the wine to gently oxidise, stripping away the vibrant pink colours to reveal a pale colour with a hue of salmon, light pink or onion skin.
These wines will be made so there is no underlying sweetness (known as residual sugar) and the flavour will be at the savoury end of the spectrum, making it a perfect wine to match with the food we eat in the warmer months.
This years Rosé Revolution kicks off on November 10 with rosé soirées and tweet-ups planned in Melbourne and around Australia.
Last years main event was a free tasting at Madame Brussels on Bourke Street, and plans are being made to try to improve what was one of the top tastings of last year.
» Check out www.rosewinerevolution.com for details about the kick-off party and educational rosé events throughout the summer. This revolution will be tweeted.
(Heathcote) $27; 12.8%
I opened up a few rosés with friends recently the way rosé should be consumed and this was the groups unanimous favourite. Complex aromas of citrus blossom, cherry, strawberry and Turkish delight lead to a fine mix of concentrated savoury, spice and berry flavours. Its textural, with grippy tannins and citrus-flavoured acidity thats dry and refreshing. The wine has pretty decent length for a rosé, with strawberry, rose petal and cinnamon flavours to the fore.Food match Charcuterie platter
(Pyrenees and Macedon Ranges) $21.95; 12.5%
A blend of pinot noir from Macedon and sangiovese from the Pyrenees, this is a top follow-up to the excellent 2010 vintage. Its a light-pink colour and smells of bright summer berries, orange rind, cherry and spice. The flavours are mirrored on the palate, along with some savoury and an underlying citrus core. Its dry and refreshing, with a fine line of zesty acid and a dry and chalky grip leading to tangerine and berry flavours in the long finish.Food match Roast-chicken baguette
(Provence, France) $34; 12.5%
Made in Provence by McLaren Vale winemaker Rose Kentish, this blend of cinsault, grenache and mourvedre sits at the paler end of the rosé spectrum. With just a sniff, aomas of strawberry, blueberry, honeysuckle and citrus rind have the ability to transport the drinker to southern France. Flavours of cherry, spice, rosewater and cinnamon have an appealing savoury edge. Its dry and crisp, with a nice chalky grip and a refreshing citrus and berry finish.Food match Bouillabaise
(McLaren Vale) $22; 12.5%
The palest of the rosés I tasted through its a watery pink, or blush this is an exercise in subtlety. It has a complex bouquet of Turkish delight, citrus blossom, strawberry and raspberry. In the mouth, there are refreshing orange and lemon citrus, spice, rose petals, savoury and red-berry flavours that have drive but wont overpower delicate food. A smooth texture is balanced by vibrant acid that leads to a spicy, savoury berry-flavoured finish.Food match Vitello tonnato
Love a bargain?
(Yarra Valley) $20; 12.2%
If you visit the gallery (and tasting room, of course) at TarraWarra over summer, this is the wine Id be grabbing to drink on the grass overlooking the vines afterwards. Dry, savoury and crisp, it ticks all the boxes of a modern rosé. It smells and tastes of strawberry, citrus, cherry, cinnamon and rose petals, with a hint of pinot noirs forest characters.
A textural rosé, it has a fine tannic grip and good length. It was at its best with food.Food match Rabbit rillettes