With spring in full swing and the beautiful days of summer just around the corner, one’s thoughts turn inevitably to the lighter side of things in wine. The days of heavy reds, of fires, and rich casseroles will soon become nothing but memories. Summer salads, smoked salmon, prawn dishes and light pasta creations will soon become our food of choice.
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Looking at the world through rosé-coloured glasses
Inevitably the joys of rosé wines spring to mind, some dry and fruity, some sweeter, some even with a bubble or two will be seen on all the tables and poolsides. These wines are not made for keeping, as the secret of their charm is their fresh fruit flavours. They are all made from red grape varietals. The secret? There is very limited skin contact, just enough to give them their heavenly hue.
And this season’s favourite?
Matthew Copeland at Vondeling Voor-Paardeberg Paarl has made the most delicious Blanc De Noir bubbly from 100% Pinotage grapes, and it is a cracker. Called Rurale, it is made in the Mèthode Ancestrale manner, and is matured on the lees for 28 months before degorging. The richness and creaminess on the palate develops during this time as well as the marvellous mousse as you pour the first glass. It is full and complex, rich on the nose, delicately salmon coloured, subtle and intriguing, just short of being bone dry… all adding up to a winner. Only 1 200 bottles were made and they are priced at R265 from the cellar.
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Matthew has also just released his other pink charmer, the Rosé 2018. Made primarily from cold pressed Merlot, this vintage has delicious Turkish delight nuances and is packed with red berry flavours. Just touched by the Merlot skins, this bottle will be a favourite during the summer months and goes perfectly with tuna and salmon. You’ll find it at the cellar at R75.
Other rosé favourites to add to your wine bucket
Roodeberg Rosé 2017
A blend of red varietals, like Cab Sav, Shiraz and Merlot, this delightfully fresh and classic Blanc De Noir has had very little skin contact and possesses hints of rose petals. Pick up a bottle for R85.
Delheim Pinotage Rosé 2018
One of the originals of this style, this year’s Delheim Pinotage Rosé is light and dry with refreshing acidity making it the perfect accompaniment for the classic fish and chips combination. You can find it at R75 a bottle from Delheim online.
Grande Provence MCC Rosé Brut NV
Made up of equal parts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this rosé brut has a gorgeous colour and soft mousse. A sip will leave you with the taste of crisp, clean apples – even a grape or two – and a fabulous long finish — simply delicious. Pick up a bottle for R165.
Angels Tears Rosé 2018
A perennial favourite, this zippy and extremely quaffable bottle goes down a treat. You can find it for R62 a bottle here.
Steenberg Pinot Noir Brut MCC NV
Don’t let the 1682 on the label fool you – that was the year the estate was founded. This non-vintage is one of my favourites as it is clean and crisp, and is packed with plenty of summer-fruit flavours like citrus notes, some biscuit and almost bone dry. I recommend using your best glasses – the wine deserves it. You’ll find a bottle goes for R227 from the cellar.
Steenberg Ruby Rosé 2018
How do they get that sensational colour into the bottle? It’ll have to remain their little secret. The Shiraz with Cinsault create a bone dry experience with some spice and a deliciously long finish. It cries out for strawberries and cream next to the pool. Find it at R93 a bottle from Steenerg’s cellar.
Fat Bastard Pinot Noir Rosé 2017
It’s a very good version of this blusher from an extremely good value range made by Robertson Winery. Cooled down, it’s just the thing to knock when you need a lift.
De Krans Pinotage Rosé NV
With hints of rose petals and strawberries, it has all the delights of summer while remaining dry and delicious. Pair it a serving of smoked salmon and grilled fish. Pick up a bottle for R54 here.
Groote Post Brut Rosé MCC
And finally, a treasure to knock them dead when you want to show your guests that you know how to pop a cork. This Groote Post bottle is a sparkling, dry, citrus-packed charmer. It’s best in the morning when you need a real lift. You’ll find a bottle goes for R146 from the cellar.
Allée Bleue Starlette Shiraz Rosé 2018
A deliciously different rosé originally crafted from Shiraz, and has kept all of its best characteristics: fruitiness, spiciness and rich, full mouth while retaining its delightful rose colour. It’s very well priced at about R66 a bottle.
Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Gamay Noir Rosé NV
It’s an easy drinking rosé that’s packed with fresh summer fruit. There’s some minerality from the skin contact, but otherwise it’s dry with a nice long finish. Great with grilled prawns.
Words Greg Landman
A journalist by trade, features writer on occasion and now the digital editor of SA Country Life. The first chance she gets, Leigh will tell you about a podcast she was recently listening to and how you simply have to make the move from radio. In a previous life, she once taught English on Jeju which left her with an insatiable craving for kimchi.