Wine column week commencing 22nd July, 2017

Fifty Shades of Pink.

One thing is for certain, this is not a sexy winter.  But there’s something about a glass of gorgeously pink rose that lifts my mood even when it’s murky outdoors. And yet it’s this pinkish hue, which unfortunately demotes it to the “don’t go there” list for many people.  Ok, by ‘many people’ I mean men.  Over the years many men I’ve questioned regarding their rosé reluctance, have said that it’s because they thought pink meant sweet, girly and a bit simple.  And, truth be told, some of them are (insert memories of Mateus Rosé here), but that’s no reason to ignore them all. Yes, they’re pretty, but does that mean they can’t be serious wines?  Of course, they can.  Thanks to the bonus of being crafted from red wine, rosés can still have fat, full, generous flavour profiles, which makes them super-versatile when it comes to food matching.  One of my favourite things to pair with rosé is watermelon, feta, black olive and basil salad; rosé is also brilliant with steamed prawn and pork dumplings.

 

Many people still assume rosé is simply a blend of red and white wine.  Not so.  These days they’re almost always crafted from red varieties.  So, if rosés are made from the same grapes that give us our gutsy favourites like cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, syrah and pinot noir – how come they’re so pale and pink and not dark and densely coloured?  Think of it like an adult movie (go with me here) in that it’s all about skin contact. If you squeeze a red grape, the juice inside is white.  The only way red wines get their colour, is by mixing that juice together with the skins for a period – shorter for a ‘light’ (harmless fun) blush of colour, longer for deep, penetrating, x-rated redness.

 

The rosés I’m seduced by are snappy-crisp, tangy, and dry.  And if you’re still adverse to a bit of pink?  My advice is pour yourself a glass that’s properly chilled, put on a blindfold and prepare to be wowed even in winter.

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Pond Paddock Zoée Martinborough Rosé 2016 $27.60 (4 stars)

Pond Paddock is owned by Swiss-born Daniele Alemagna and the grapes and wines are looked after by Italian winemaker Simone Amorese.  Simone has created a crunchy-fresh rose from hand-picked pinot noir and it’s a doozy.  Incredibly fresh and racy and deliciously, cheek-slappingly dry, the raspberry and redcurrant and cherry notes lick through on the finish.

www.pondpaddock.nz

Karikari Estate Calypso Rose 2016 $27 (4 stars)

Merlot grapes from New Zealand’s northernmost vineyard have been lightly pressed to create this gutsy, spicy rose that actually warms the giblets rather nicely with every sip.  Winemaker Alan Collinson has crammed plum, cherry, raspberry and redcurrant characters into the glass and rather than being light and delicate, this is a rose with some rock and roll behind it, and after three years in the bottle, it’s developing a fine-grained texture on the finish.

www.karikariestate.co.nz

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Snuggle up with a goblet of one of these ribsticking reds and all will feel well with the world…

 

Poggio Civetta Rosso Toscana IGT 2016 $17 (3.5 stars)

Are you sick of all the Tuscan reds you’ve been drinking lately? No? Me neither! I’m loving this dangerously drinkable 80% sangiovese, 20% syrah blend because it’s leathery and light and yet incredibly savoury. And there’s an owl on the front.  I like owls ok! The fruit intensity is due to the whole kit and caboodle being fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks to preserve the berry and plum punchiness. Smooth, juicy and absolutely bellissimo with Tuscan lamb chops and white bean Provencale.

www.sapori.co.nz

Elephant Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2014 $48.99 (5 stars)

Steve Skinner is Elephant Hill’s winemaker, a man of few words, yet critics all over the globe are piping up with 5 star reviews and scores in the 96/100 range. With 50% syrah sourced from EH’s Gimblett vineyard, 30% from their coastal Te Awanga vineyard and 20% from Bridge Pa is co-fermented with 1% viognier to hoon up the colour and florals, it’s a stunning example. Peppercorn, violets, blueberry and smoke all sing with 5-spiced duck breasts and mixed berry coulis.

www.elephanthill.co.nz

Brennan B2 Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 $30 (4 stars)

It was while New Yorker Sean Brennan drove delivery trucks for a wine distributor around Manhattan that he caught the wine bug. Next stop?  New Zealand to learn how to make his own. Stacked with flavour, his pinot carries cherry cola aromas which merge with soft cocoa, bay and black tea to form identical layers in the mouth. Soft, plush tannins create a velvety texture and add extra complexity to the finish. Try sipping with moroccan lamb burgers with pistachio salsa.

www.brennanwines.com

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