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Seeing summer through Rosé-coloured glasses

Media Release 15 December 2008

Seeing summer through Rosé-coloured glasses

Pink has never been so popular.

Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris have all had their moments in the sun, but the new summer wine taking the world by storm is of a different hue.

Once regarded as neither here nor there, rosé has become the summer wine of the chic, with light, crisp styles that are the perfect complement to summer foods.

British trade magazine Off Licence recently reported that UK sales of rosés increased by 30 per cent this year, now accounting for 10 per cent of all wine sales – compared with just five per cent three years ago.

Indeed, leading international wine commentator Jancis Robinson says British drinkers are turning to light but sophisticated rosés to quench their thirst in a warmer world.

In the United States, rosé sales grew by 50 per cent in the year to February, and even in Australia sales growth has been in double digits.

Now New Zealand is catching on to this international trend, according to Cuisine magazine, which has noticed more producers here are making rosé and taking it more seriously than ever before. In its latest tasting of a selection of the country’s top rosés, judges commented that the best were made with “serious intent” offering a “lovely range of different styles”.

Topping the tasting was the five-star Fossil Ridge Nelson Rosé 2008, described by judges at ‘the perfect summer lunch wine.’

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New Zealand winemakers are increasingly making elegant rosés to meet international demand – made for the UK market, the Saint Clair Marlborough Pinot Rosé also ranked in Cuisine’s top five.

Restaurateurs such as Judith Tabron, of Soul in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, have noticed steady growth in summer rosé sales over several years. As with many wine trends, women are leading the way, she says.

“Rosés are generally not very expensive, which is good, and often they are lower in alcohol, which is important if you want to have a couple of glasses at lunchtime.

Rosé is also a very visual drink, says Tabron. “I had one customer in the other day and she saw another woman drinking rosé and said, ‘You know, I think I’ll have a rosé too’.

“Especially out on the terrace at lunchtime, if one table orders rosé, soon many other tables will be ordering it as well.”

New Zealanders are also more adventurous and international when drinking rosé, says Tabron. “You can’t sell Australian Chardonnay or Spanish sparkling wine, but New Zealanders are happy to try a rosé from Italy, Spain, Australia – any winemaking country.”

And just as women are leading the migration to rosé, Cuisine welcomed its first-ever all-female judging panel to its rosé tasting. The panel was led by the aptly named Australian Louisa Rose, head winemaker for Yalumba, assisted by Cloudy Bay senior winemaker Eveline Fraser and Jane Boyle, brand strategy manager at New Zealand Wine Cellars

The latest issue of Cuisine also features a tasting of New Zealand’s other favourite summer wine – Sauvignon Blanc. Results of the Rosé and NZ Sauvignon Blanc tastings as well as the latest in wine news and great food and wine matches are all revealed in the summer issue of Cuisine, on sale from Monday 15 December.

Top Five New Zealand Rosé

1. Fossil Ridge Nelson Rosé 2008
2. Squawking Magpie Rosé 2007 (Hawke’s Bay)
3. Bracken’s Order Blanc de Pinot Noir 2008 (Central Otago)
4. Odyssey Marlborough Rosé 2008
5. Saint Clair Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2008
Best Buys - New Zealand Rosé

Five stars
Fossil Ridge Nelson Rosé 2008 $18-$22
Four stars
Squawking Magpie Rosé 2007 $17.95


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