Rosé has an image problem. Many estates don’t produce one. In non-wine-growing countries, it is associated with the sickly sweet cheapies shipped in from California and Australia. Some winemakers dismiss it as simply a quaffing wine – something more along the lines of a cooler. And indeed, the majority of the rosé made in SA is the sweet stuff which, it seems, you either love or hate.
I won’t lie: I’ve tasted ghastly rosés and can’t help a shiver of skepticism when I see a deep and vivid colour staring back at me through the bottle. But I’ve learnt not to judge a book by its colour – especially not as, according to one survey carried out in Provence, rosé comes in 21 shades of pink!
Rosé can be wonderful. It’s fun and summery: qualities one can never have enough of. It can also be elegant and substantial, a worthy candidate for dinner just as much as a poolside companion.
Due to the lack of AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlee) type wine regulations in our country, the winemaker is free to make rosé out of any grape he sees fit – but Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are a popular choice, as single varietal wines or in a blend. Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to get ready for the warm weather. Here are just a few of the lovelier dry rosés the Cape has to offer.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Dry, delicate and Provencal in style with some tropical fruit happening on the palate. My number one.
Constantia Glen Saddle
Merlot-driven Bordeaux blend. Copper-pink in colour, light flavour of cherries and strawberries and a sexy smoky finish. A worthy contender for Almenkerk’s Lace.
Delaire Graff Cabernet Franc Rosé
Stunning neon-pink colour, bouquet of roses and a palate full of melon and red apple, with some savouriness happening as well.
Buitenverwachting Blanc de Noir
Bordeaux blend with Pinot Noir. A light pillar-box red in colour with a red pepper and tomato flavour. Awesome with food; great alone, too.
Gabrielskloof The Rosebud
Viognier and Shiraz – what it says on the tin: roses, roses and more roses. Fresh and cleansing.
Bartinney Vineyard’s Noble Savage
Cabernet Sauvignon – smoky, earthy, savoury with a touch of vanilla. In the more value-for-money category, but it sure as hell is lekker.
Diermersdal Sauvignon Rosé
Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc – smoky, green peppery and strong. A very masculine rosé, perfect for braai time.
Uitkyk Pinot Grigio
Elegant and bone dry. Hints of passion fruit and brandy.
Sangiovese – lots of minerality, minimal fruit. Italian flavour from a top, top estate.
Photography Caroline Knight, courtesy