Forget ABC (Anything But Chardonnay); it wasn’t long ago that rosé-style wines were near the bottom of the vinous pile. But as winemakers craft drier, more complex rosé wines, so the category has shuffled off its sickly-sweet untrendy image to become a drink of choice when the sun is shining.
Sutherland Grenache Rosé from Thelema
The rosé taking up the most space in my collection right now is the Sutherland Grenache Rosé from Thelema. Although made on the Helshoogte Pass above Stellenbosch, the grapes are sourced from cooler vineyards above Elgin, and with a wonderful deep-pink hue from the Grenache this wine offers up plenty of berries on the nose, with a dry, crisp and refreshing palate.
Creation Wines in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Also taking full advantage of cool-climate varieties is Creation Wines in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. This estate, famous for its Pinot Noir and Syrah, throws a dollop of Grenache into the blend that makes up its Whale Pod Spyhopping Rosé. Expect bright red berries and a lingering hint of rose-petal and pomegranate.
Babylonstoren takes yet another approach to their rosé, relying on Mourvèdre grapes to produce this pink stunner made in the Provençal-style. The unadorned bottle puts the strawberry hue front and centre, while in your glass you’ll find crisp red fruits and just a hint of spice.
Rosie D from Doran Vineyards in the Voor Paardeberg
On the other hand, the Rosie D from Doran Vineyards in the Voor Paardeberg is a steal. This no-nonsense quaffer is a wine that should always be on hand, nicely chilled, in any self-respecting summertime fridge. Made from Pinotage grapes by talented young winemaker Martin Lamprecht, it’s a wine that benefits from a few blocks of ice in the heat of summer. The Rosie D has a hint of strawberry and rose-water in both colour and aroma.
Grenache-dominated ‘Lekkerwijn’ Solms-Delta
The same goes for the Grenache-dominated ‘Lekkerwijn’ from Franschhoek estate Solms-Delta, which has a label as eye-catching as the wine is delicious. Expect both freshness and fruity intensity on the palate, with hints of raspberry, strawberry and apple on the nose. It pairs well with smoked fish, cold platters and nutty hard cheeses.
Words: Richard Holmes