One of my favourite wines is Rose, and I’m noticing I am not alone. It has really become the wine of the moment. Rose, or Blush as it is sometimes called, seems to work for both red and white wine drinkers, with the colour being somewhere between white and red, ranging from salmon to pink to light red.
Roses typically have a light berry flavour with a floral aroma, resulting in a fruity and refreshing wine that is best served slightly chilled. Many have a little residual sugar highlighting the berry. I don’t think you can go past a Rose when it comes to a lunchtime wine or as an apertif.
Today, many red grape varietals are used to make Rose, and Great Lakes Dragonfly Rose is made from Shiraz blended with a little Barbera. A more traditional variety of grape used to make Rose is Gamay, which is the preferred grape variety used to make the famous French Beaujolais. The Beaujolais region in France is all about Gamay Noir. The variety of Beaujolais wines is something to be explored, as vineyards of the region are grown in both granite and clay. The granite brings a mineral element, while the fruit grown in clay are lighter and less complex in flavour. While most Beaujolais wines are light and designed to be drunk when they are young, there are some premium Beaujolais which are full bodied red wines with more complexity and as they age, they take on characteristics of an aged Pinot Noir. You don’t find a lot of Gamay in Australia, but it is similar to Pinot Noir in that it is held in very high esteem.
Rose is a wine that has spent little time on the skins, to give it the colour profile without retaining the tannin from the skins. Rather than crushing the fruit, the whole bunches are placed in the vat, with the pressure from the fruit causing the fruit to release its juice, and fermentation begins. The vat is then sealed and the fruit bursts under pressure, releasing more juice. Once the skins are removed, the wine is made in a similar way to a white wine, resulting in a low tannin, light, refreshing flavoursome wine. Like many wines, it is common to use fruit from a couple of vineyards, with each contributing its own unique characteristics. The winemakers’ art is blending the juice proportionately to achieve the flavour balance that is being sought after.
An alternative way to make a Rose is blending red and white wine for the same result. With this technique, the blending skills, along with the fruit quality, is key to achieve the desired colour and flavour profile.
If you are not a red wine drinker, I suggest you try some Rose – especially this time of year, as we head into the warmer part of the year. The Great Lakes Dragonfly Rose is very popular with both red and white drinkers, so we are happy to have struck the right balance.