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Wednesday 24 April 2024

Australian winemakers are coming up rosé


It is not that long ago that rosé wines were something of a distraction for many Australian winemakers.

A batch of leftover grenache, or shiraz: "fine, let's make a simple, sweet pink wine for the ladies to enjoy at cellar door".

In the wake of the continued success of pale savoury rosés from Provence, however, Australia is now producing rosé wines in a variety of styles; most of them dry, some of them very stylish indeed.

Sydney PR company Blend PR recently week put on a Zoom tasting of four new wave rosés, one each from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, all made from different grape blends, but all super food friendly.

The wines featured were the 2023 Marchand & Burch, Oliver's Taranga and De Iullis Wines releases and the 2022 Yarra Valley rosé from Handpicked Wines.

It is an indication of just how seriously rosé is being taken nowadays that winemakers Nic Bowen, Corrina Wright, Mike De Iulliis and Peter Dillon all joined for the tasting.

All four wines sit at between $28-30 on retail shelves and all are certainly worth a look. The two wines that saw oak, the Marchand & Burch and Handpicked, are candidates for short-term cellaring, while the other pair were ready to be enjoyed the day they were bottled.

The Marchand and Burch 2023 Villages Rosé is a pale and crisp blend of grenache, pinot noir and shiraz from the Swan Valley, Great Southern and Margaret River.

The Handpicked Regional Selection 2022 Yarra Valley Rosé is 100% sangiovese from the Yarra and is aromatic with mineral notes.

Oliver's Taranga 2023 Chica Rosé is a savoury blend of McLaren Vale shiraz and mencia (with fiano lees in the ferment to add texture and complexity).

The crisp, zippy De Iuliis 2023 Estate Rosé is 60% shiraz, 40% merlot, all from the Hunter Valley.

"Rosé really was an afterthought for a very long time," says winemaker Mike de Iuliis. "Now it is given serious consideration. We used to make rosé from crap shiraz; now we make 3,000 cases and take it very seriously."

Marchand & Burch winemaker Nic Bowen agrees, saying. "There is a real push now to make rosés of complexity and interest. That said, all rosés should be easy to drink. You don't want anything that is too challenging as rosé is a lifestyle wine."

Peter Dillon from Handpicked tried pinot noir for his rosés but found it too "tutti frutti". "What we want is to make a wine that is savoury and interesting, and sangiovese is perfect for that," he says.

Corinna Wright from Oliver's Taranga says her wine showcases "florals and freshness" despite being from a warmer region. .

All four wines are thoroughly modern in style. Paleish, dryish and savouryish.

Get some Lebanese takeaway in, and you have an instant feast with any one of the four.           .   

Top image: Agi Gob, 

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