Wine expert and Marble Restaurant’s head sommelier, Wikus Human, discusses the current state and future of South African rosé
South African reds and whites have long been ranked among the world’s best vintages, but in recent years rosés have taken a step into the spotlight and are gaining a reputation for being not just flavourful, but real contenders in the international rosé scene. With an extensive historical relationship with wine, and his finger on the pulse of all things viticulture, no one knows more about the rise of rosé than Marble Restaurant’s beverage manager and head sommelier, Wikus Human.
Human’s passion for wine is evident in everything he does – from his enthusiasm for the art of wine production, to his determination to bring only the best vintages into the restaurant, he’s constantly looking to expand minds when it comes to the fruit of the vine. Having been on the wine frontline, he’s witnessed rosé’s journey first hand. “South African wines have really evolved. Today, our wines are easily able to contend on the international market, and while people previously looked to South Africa for our signature Pinotage wines, oenophiles now know that SA has so much more to offer,” he says. And South Africa’s “so much more” comes in the form of fresh, flavourful rosés – no longer all about a sweet pink wine for pairing with high tea cakes, but now ready to complement sophisticated savoury dishes, too.
In the South African family, Wikus feels that Normandie Estate’s Karen rosé leads the pack. “Karen is a style of rosé that I really enjoy. It’s not a fruit-driven wine, but rather leans toward accompanying savoury dishes perfectly, which mirrors larger rosé trends.” Made from a single icon block of Merlot grapes on Normandie’s Franschhoek estate, it’s easy to taste why Wikus favours this salmon-coloured creation – it’s sophisticated, dry and delicious.
Looking to the future, Wikus can see the potential that lies in embracing rosé. “While rosé used to be the product of leftover wines, we see today that its demand is driving winemakers to add a rosé to their portfolios. Next time you’re looking for a wonderful wine, pick out a South African rosé – Normandie’s Karen, Babylonstoren’s Mourvèdre Rosé, the Waterford Estate’s Rose-Mary, or Warwick’s The First Lady Dry Rosé are all fantastic choices.”
010 594 5550
Words: Lucy Sarah Heaney | Images: Supplied