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Monday 12 November 2018

Roses are red, rosé is pink.

Cast your mind back a few years. OK, a couple of decades - and remember sitting around the barbie on a stinking hot summer day. Cheap sausages, lamb chops, bucket hats, blokes who should really keep their shirts ON, Auntie Dot’s potato salad and fruit curry salad. The cicadas are kicking up a din and the magpies are crying out for their scraps.

What were we drinking? Of course, there was an Esky full of awful beer - in cans - for the gents and Chateau Carte d’Bourde for the ladies. Then along came Helen - that woman who always wore her diaphanous swirling frocks too short, pale lipstick and the oversize floppy hats with matching scarves. Oh, and who was she bringing today? A new chap apparently, but he had a buttonless shirt, a cricketer’s moustache and a shiny red MG.

Helen would bring her wine in bottles because she was a bit posh. And what was that pink stuff? ‘Mate’s’?

“Hello darlings, who’d like a rosé?”

Well, back when Dennis Lillee was bowling overs and Evonne Goolagong was winning Wimbledon, that’s all we knew. And it was MATEUS, from Portugal by the way. Note spelling.

It was a decent drop back then, as it is now. But today Aussies are producing plenty of the fine, delicate wine too, and just this week I had the opportunity for a bit of a history lesson at the recent ‘Taste of Sydney’ event.

Matt Dunne, head sommelier for the Solotel group (RE)
The charming Matt Dunne, head sommelier for the Solotel group (read: Aria, Quay Bar, Opera Bar and 27 others) was at hand to guide me a little with this lesser-known wine style.

“First of all, you should know that rosé is probably the fastest growing wine style in Australia right now,” Matt says in his quiet, authoritative voice, “one and a half million bottles were exported to Australia (from France) last year, up some 50% from 2016.”

Vins De Provence Rosé. Just a few of the premium French brands. (RE)
And why shouldn’t it be? It’s agreeable to both men and women, who drink it in equal measure and it’s perfectly suited to the foods Australians love to eat.

“Rosé is the ideal accompaniment to Thai green chicken curry,” Matt says.

And where does the best rosé come from? Well, it’s easy to be biased under these circumstances, but the 3000 hours of sunlight every year in Provence makes this region pretty hard to go past. 

Unusual varietals such as mataro, tibouren, cinsault and rolle (aka vermentino) all make for very interesting tasting indeed. Australian rosé tends to be confined to our more familiar grape types such as grenache and cabernet sauvignon.

How to drink rosé? Chilled of course, in a standard red or white wine glass and ideally suited to a wide variety of foods, particularly cheeses, cold salads and seafood. It’s very easy to drink thanks to its simplicity, even palate and low acids.

Rosé is the perfect summer drinking wine
“How do you tell a good rosé?” we asked Matt.

“Balance, length, intensity and concentration. Colour should be a pale salmon or 'onion skin'.”

But don’t get all caught up in the technicals. Wine is for drinking and rosé has to be one of the easiest and most enjoyable wines at any time. Posh Helen was right all along!

A guest blog from Roderick Eime, who was a guest of Vins de Provence Rosé #provencewinesaustralia

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