Bob’s Blog for ‘Around Hermitage’

Let’s face it summer means Rose’ in Australia—and about time

It’s been a long hot summer and I have been enjoying some fine drops of Rose’ wine to help ease the pain! We have certainly come a long way in our appreciation of these attractive, refreshing, crisp and lighter styles of wine. Our winemakers have started to take this style seriously and the number of good wines available has increased. I often say” Wine is Fashion” and in the case of rose’ I think the Australian weather is driving the fashion.

Some 17 years ago Tintilla picked up a Gold medal for its Rose’ wine at the Sydney International Wine Show. Interestingly it was the international judges that marked the wine up. The local judges had little interest in the style of wine, reflecting the attitude at large.

We had decided to make a rose’ using our Sangiovese grapes that had fine tannins and gave a light crisp edge to the wine, we also opted for a dry style as our palates run to the dryer end of the spectrum and we like to enjoy what we make. We called it Rosato de Jupiter- the blood of Jupiter or Jove is the origin of the word Sangiovese

Back in those days rose’ was often an afterthought, possibly made of a blend of white and red grapes or as a result of the saignée method of bleeding of some red juice to help concentrate the colour and flavor of the red wine being made, and making the rose’ by then fermenting this juice.

Our preference from the start was the limited maceration method where the juice was left on the skins for a limited period, often overnight, to extract some but not all of the colour and phenolics in the skins and then to run off the juice into stainless steel fermenters and make it like a white wine. This is now the preferred method when it comes to making quality rose’ wines although saignée method still has a place.

A visit to Provence a few years ago showed the great variety of Rose’ wines produced in the worlds Capital of pink wines. There is now a trend to make lighter coloured Rose’ in the dryer style and darker colours signify a degree of residual sugar.

Grenache seemed to dominate the wine varietals but other grapes such as carignan, mourvede, cinsault, syrah may be used, in Spain of course tempranillo and others including garnacha and some French varieties are included to make their Rosato.

In our visits to Italy we have seen Sangiovese, nebbiolo and many other varieties including some supertuscan varietals such as merlot, pinot noir and cabernet savignon, whatever is locally available might well go into the wine making process.

The interesting thing is these are all red wines but of course the flesh is white and the colour and flavor comes from the skins. The limited time on skins leads to a touch of the varietal character as well as a savoury element, and being served chilled this adds to their an attractive crispness.

With the Sangiovese grapes we get some fine tannins leading to a good line and length and being Australian the fruit is there a little more than in the European styles but in our wine we have a dry finish.

It’s well worth trying these wines and finding one or two you really like-keep them in the fridge-you never know when you might need a pick me up.

These are great food wines in summer, they go with seafood, turkey, cold meats, and if you are looking for something to go with Thai look no further.