Six local rosé wines to get you feeling in the pink this summer
Taking inspiration from a supercool international wine brand, we say 'Yes way, rosé!'
Rosé captures the essence of summer fun – and is especially suited to holidays.
I’ve long been an admirer of the Yes Way Rosé "wine and lifestyle brand" started by two young women in the US, Erica Blumenthal and Nikki Huganir. I wholeheartedly agree with them when they say, "When we discovered our passion for rosé, specifically the dry blush pink varieté from the south of France, we not only grew obsessed with the beautiful colour and the delicious taste, but how it was inspiring so much humour and positivité in our lives.’
Yes Way Rosé is a Grenache-based blend, which is available in both regular-size bottles and magnums, as well as in chic cans.
Not content with merely selling wine, however, Blumenthal and Huganir have published a book on the joys of pink wine and also offer an entirely charming range of T-shirts, sweatshirts, a beanie and other products, all emblazoned with the brand manifesto that’s also its name (full disclosure: I own a Yes Way Rosé T-shirt - because why not?).
Rosé captures the essence of summer fun.
Bringing it all back home, South African winemakers are producing an ever-growing selection of excellent rosés.
Many of these wines are made very much in the style of the dry, sophisticated, pale pink French rosés that inspired Blumenthal and Huganir.
Others are a more experimental and complex, but the overriding principle is that the days of rosé being dismissed out of hand by "serious" wine lovers as sickly sweet and headache-inducing are long gone.
Here are our top six locally avilable rosés that you should try this summer.
1. GABRIËLSKLOOF ROSEBUD
Produced along the same lines as French rosés – many of which hail from Provence – is Gabriëlskloof Rosebud, which cellar master Peter-Allan Finlayson calls the “little darling” of Gabriëlskloof’s Estate Range of wines.
He says the 2019 vintage, which is 50% Syrah and 50% Viognier, and has just been released, “continues our recent trend of producing a dry, light and deliciously moreish Provençal-style rosé”.
Finlayson advises that you can “expect luscious fruit on the nose – watermelon, papaya and strawberry,” adding that “the palate is lightweight and summery with a balanced acidity that adds freshness”.
At just R80 ordered directly from the Gabriëlskloof cellar, it’s a total bargain to boot.
2. DOMAINE GRIER FRENCH ROSÉ
If you’d like to try an actual French rosé, this is the easiest way to do so: Woolworths sells the dry, refreshing and very well-balanced Domaine Grier French Rosé in store and from its website.
Domaine Grier is an estate near Roussillon, in the south of France, that is owned by the Grier family of South Africa’s Villiera wines.
This slightly mineral, dry rosé has soft fruit flavours of watermelon and strawberries, and is definitely one of my current favourites for sundowners.
It’s a bargain too, at R84.99 a bottle – and remember that if you order it online from Woolworths in Gauteng and the Western Cape by the six-bottle case, you’ll get 10% off that price too.
3. PIERRE JOURDAN BELLE NECTAR
Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes and with a brilliant sparkle as well as a classic demi-sec sweetness, the new Pierre Jourdan Belle Nectar MCC is perfect with dessert. I’m definitely going to try pairing it with Eton mess, for example, at the end of a leisurely summer lunch.
There’s more Turkish delight on the palate here than delicate fruit, but that means it will appeal to anyone who likes their bubbly just a touch sweeter than the rest of us do – and why not? R145 per bottle from Haute Cabrière estate.
4. ALPHABETICAL ROSÉ
This rosé is rather different from the others on this list as it’s very much not intended to be “just” a summer drink. Niche wine brand Alphabetical was intent on making a wine that was “rather more complex” than your average rosé, and as a result chose Mourvèdre and Cinsault grapes and barrel-aged the juice for a full 12 months before release.
It’s certainly dry and fresh, but a good deal more characterful than you might previously have experienced from rosé wines, making it a good one to get a seriously rosé-skeptic wine-loving friend to sample. R110 per bottle from Port2Port.
5. WATERFORD ROSE-MARY
Named after Waterford winemaker Jeremy Ord’s late mother, this is a supremely sophisticated rosé – the estate calls it a Blanc de Noir – that includes a blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, Cinsault and Sangiovese grapes.
The 2019 vintage is relatively light in alcohol (around 11%) with a gorgeous blush-pink colour, a soft texture and delicate raspberry flavours. The finish is crisp and delicate, making it, as Waterford says, “a perfect summertime wine”. Stock up on it from the Waterford cellar at R125 a bottle.
6. SPIDER PIG BRO/ZAY ROSÉ
As their brand name suggests, Spider Pig wines are deliberately designed to be a little bit unserious – although results of the collaborations between David Nel and David Wibberley, plus a variety of other winemakers, are definitely no joke.
These generally delicious wines are made in small volumes. The 2018 Bro/Zay Rosé is crisp and fruity – think Turkish delight, candy floss and strawberry flavours, with a dry, fresh finish. From bottle to glass, this one will make you smile.
R105 per bottle from Publik, whose wine bars are also the best place to sample it before buying.