In its earliest form, rosé was a combination of red and white grapes, crushed underfoot and left to ferment in large, ceramic containers. Modern-day Provence in France first established its reputation as a leading producer of rosé as early as the sixth century BC, exporting bottles around the Mediterranean.
French consumers rediscovered rosé in the 1930s when France first introduced mandatory vacation days. Families would travel to Provence or the Loire Valley, both major rosé-producing regions, and return home having learned to associate the wine with celebration and leisure.
Today rosé is the second most popular wine style in France, behind red wine, and beating white wine into third place.
Some of the reasons for rosé’s rise should be obvious to anyone who has ever purchased a bottle. Rosé is simultaneously aspirational — nicknamed the “Gatorade of the Hamptons” — and affordable. It’s also accessible. Instead of having to decode grape varietals and alcohol percentages, consumers can simply focus on the question of dry versus sweet, dry being the most popular.
Rosés are made all over the world, pretty much anywhere red wine is made. The basic technique for producing rosé is to start with red grapes and to macerate the juice just long enough with the pigment-bearing skins to achieve the desired colour. The results can range from the faintest onionskin to almost cherry red.
Each of these has the transporting power implicit in any rosé, yet each is completely different, both from each other and from the pale Provençal rosés that have done more than any others to foster the wine’s allure.
So, in this second article on rosé wines, let’s look at “romantic” wines from De Krans, Riebeek Cellars, Klawer Cellar, Van Loveren, Anthonij Rupert Wyne and Diemersfontein.
De Krans Pinotage Rosé 2019
This wine delights with a colour the winemaker describes as “light rose petal blush pink” and displays a bouquet of soft and elegant rose petals and candyfloss with hints of strawberries. On the palate it is smooth and quenching with fine red fruit flavours and a fresh acidity.
This is “love at first sip” on a hot summer’s day … and the perfect partner to fresh summer salads and grilled cob.
Riebeek Cellars Pinotage Rosé 2019
This wine is part of the Riebeek Cellars Collection. It is both elegant and vibrant. Using only free-run juice with minimum skin contact has ensured a light pink hue. Prepare yourself for a burst of red berry flavours. Vibrant strawberries and ripe cherries are balanced by a fresh, dry finish.
Enjoy with family and friends, chilled, or with fresh summer salads or “summery” fish and poultry dishes.
Villa Esposto Rosé 2019
Villa Esposto is a Klawer Cellars brand which pays tribute to the many Italians who have played such a pivotal role in South Africa, especially Louis Theodore Esposto who arrived in the country in 1914 from Italy. It’s another “romantic” wine made from South Africa’s unique pinotage variety. This dry wine has a very soft pink colour, which can also be described as onion skin, and displays scents of spice-coated strawberries and vivid red cherry flavours.
This is summer in a bottle, a wine for the festive season, to be enjoyed on its own, chilled, or with antipasti.
Van Loveren Blanc de Noir Red Muscadel
Although sweeter rosé wines may not be as popular as their dry counterparts, this fruity, semi-sweet and aromatic Blanc de Noir, made 100% from muscat de frontignan grapes (red muscadel), will find many takers. It is delicate pink in colour and displays a luscious nose of upront muscat and rose petal flavours.
This wine is a great aperitif, but will also work perfectly well with spiced food. Try it with curry and Thai dishes.
Van Loveren Perlé de Jean 2018
This delightful wine, made 100% from pinot gris grapes, displays a fine nose, enticing fresh notes of raspberries, strawberries, fresh red currant, ripe citrus and melon with a gentle lemon undertone. It is medium in weight, crisp, and offers a pure expression of summer on the palate with good grip and fine extract, elegant fruit and a lingering persistence. The palate speaks of vibrant plum and ripe berry fruit.
Ideal on its own, chilled, but equally ideal with shellfish and other fish dishes, chicken, summer salads, cold cuts and a large variety of vegetarian dishes.
Jean Roi Cap Provincial Rosé 2017
This premium rosé is made in the same dry style as the rosés from Provence in France. The Jean Roi Rosé is a blend of 64% cinsaut, 34% grenache and 2% shiraz. It is pale blush-pink in colour and has a gentle fruity nose with stone fruit like nectarine and white peach overlaid with delicate white blossom notes. The same flavours are found on the palate with appealingly vibrant and fresh nectarine, peach and apricot. The wine also offers a delightful succulence with some soft red berry flavours.
The Jean Roi Rosé wine is well-structured with a fleshy mid-palate and long, rewarding aftertaste of lemon zest and a touch of lees.
With its palate weight and mouthfeel, along with its vivid fruitiness, this is a good food wine, but once you’ve tasted it on its own, you’ll probably finish the bottle before food is served! In that case, open another bottle!
Diemersfontein Rosé 2019
Made from mourvèdre grapes, this rosé has a pale peach colour with soft tones of raspberry, strawberry and candy floss in the nose. The delicate and smooth berry flavours follow through to the palate with a medium body and a lingering dry finish.
This “bottled romance” is perfect on its own, but also goes brilliantly with all sorts of food. Its ample body and wonderful aroma make it a notable and exciting partner for sushi, but also try it with Camembert and Brie, paella or grilled chicken.
If you’re not a convert yet, you will soon be. It’s very easy and simple: just try one of the rosés mentioned in the two articles about this irresistible wine style and you will realise why it’s so much associated with celebration and leisure.