Winemakers let the colour shine through in this rosé tasting, says Mary-Therese Blair.
One thing’s for sure, our love affair with the pink drink isn’t waning but that doesn’t mean that this category isn’t evolving. Just a year or two ago, a lineup of top rosés would have been pale, paler and palest. These winners, however, are described by head judge Ben as “the most versatile seen in a long time” by this panel of experienced judges. The colour spectrum of the top wines ranges from pale salmon through red crayon all the way to vibrant electric red. This development by winemakers in the rosé space is exciting. It means that rather than going with the crowd trying to create an even lighter shade of pale, winemakers are staying true to what the vineyard gives them. If that’s electric pink, then bottle it and be proud. The end result is a selection of rosés that are explosive with fruit flavours and crunchy juiciness; just as a good rosé should be, no matter the hue.
The wine formerly known as ‘Harriet’ Rosé, took home 5 stars in last year’s rosé judging with its 2020 vintage. This year, the 2021 vintage has not only claimed five stars once again, but also taken the crown.
Sugar Loaf Wines is the small winery that could. Kate Acland founded Sugar Loaf Wines in 2004, aged just 23, naming the winery for the islands which lie off the coast of her native Taranaki. Today, the purpose- built winemaking facility sits in the heart of Rapaura in Marlborough and it sources grapes from throughout Marlborough.
The grapes for this 100% pinot noir rosé come from Marlborough’s Southern Valleys and are the able clone, the grape known for the strawberries and cream character that we have come to know and love in our rosés.
But this wine is so much more than just strawberries and cream, and stands out immediately with its bright, boiled red-lolly colour in the glass. It’s a pleasant jolt to the senses which doesn’t stop from first glance to the last whisper of flavour lingering at the end of what seems like an infinitely long finish. The nose is bright and fresh with crushed herbs, red summer blossoms and boiled red-lolly notes reminiscent of sweet red licorice, all of which flow beautifully into the lively and mouth-filling palate. It certainly impressed our trio of judges who described this wine as both “smashable and serious.”
Almost opaque yet pale in the glass with delicate red fruits, florals …2
A bright crushed-watermelon colour to the eye with aromas of lush, ripe …3
A cracking nose that immediately draws you into the glass teeming with …4
Ripe berry fruit and a hint of stone fruit on the nose …5
A bright vivacious pink with a gorgeous hint of onion skin in …6