Hands Up If You Love Pale Dry Rosé!

By Leanne De Bortoli |

For the last few years I have been personally thrilled to bits with the interest and buzz around Rosé.

My husband Steve and I have always loved the Provençal Rosés, particularly those from the Bandol region, home to our favourite; Domaine Tempier.

'Rosé from God' as Steve calls it.

After a holiday in the south of France with our daughter Kate, we were so enamoured after enjoying their savoury pale dry Rosés that we decided we would make some when we returned home to Australia.

So we did.

Our decision to make a serious made-for-purpose pale dry Rosé was met with some healthy scepticism, because at that time, most of the Rosés made in Australia were darker pink and generally sweeter. There simply was not yet a large market for the pale, dry and textural style. We forged ahead and along the way developed a successful campaign with other like-minded wineries called Rosé Revolution.

We weren't disparaging the darker sweeter styles but instead opening up discussion (and taste buds) about the distinction between these darker (generally sweeter) Rosés and pale (dry and savoury). Both have their fans and both have their place.

In a nutshell there are 3 ways to make Rosé:

  • Made-for-purpose which is red grapes grown specifically for making Rosé. The grapes are picked and either crushed (or whole-bunch pressed), the skins left to macerate for a very short time before being discarded, but not before imparting a delightful pale pink tinge to the juice (Grape fact: all grapes red and white, yield clear juice and only pick up colour from the skins). Fermentation follows in oak barrels and/or stainless steel tanks

  • Saignee – bleeding some juice off the crushed (or pressed) red grapes which is then used to make Rosé whilst the resultant red juice with a larger skin to liquid ratio intensifies leading to a richer more concentrated red wine)

  • Blending – mixing a little red wine to white wine (not significant and rarely used)

Find out more here.

As for variety, basically any red wine grape can be used to make Rosé.

Our first pale dry Rosé was made from Yarra Valley Pinot Noir (under the La Bohème label). I love this variety for its red wines and think it makes the most charming Rosé. However, that said, Domaine Tempier Rosé from Bandol is made from Mourvèdre grapes and I adore that wine too.

Since then, we have also added a Sangiovese (under BellaRiva from King Valley), a Grenache (under Villages from Heathcote) and my new favourite - Nebbiolo (under Vinoque from the Yarra Valley).

Other Australian winemakers have made Rosés from Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Tempranillo etc and are worth a look too.

So, when you next visit your local bottleshop, perhaps wander into the Rosé section and give it a go.

It truly is a terrific wine that loves a party. Great on its own or very adaptive to any season. Enjoy Rosé...

  • While enjoying canapés during the Spring Racing Carnival - think cured salmon, egg sandwiches or anchovy tartlets

  • On warm Summer days with warm-climate cuisines including Thai, Provencal, Mexican or mild Indian curries

  • On long Autumn evenings with bbq chicken or seafood and salads

  • In Winter with paella and some pasta dishes (don't forget the anchovies!)

  • Rosé also pairs well with some cheeses like soft goats cheese, Meredith Feta, Gruyere, Comte and particularly Cabots Cheddar.

FACT: Did you know that Rosé outsells white wine 2 to 1 in France?


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