Well, it’s been over a week since it happened, but I was a small part of the Rose Wine Revolution event on the 30th November, and I did promise to post something about it …

The brainchild of DeBortoli, this was a virtual event organised via Twitter (using the hashtag #roserev), Facebook, Eventbrite and Meetupthe Qwoff Boys streamed live from DeBortoli’s in the Yarra Valley, and a bunch of us got together at Homestyle Solutions (home of the inimitable @sprigggy) with the Wine Australia folk to follow the fun (although we didn’t hear too much of what Justin and Andre were saying … we were making way too much noise of our own 🙂 ).

As befitted an event that was driven by social media, it wasn’t a stuffy blind tasting with serious discussion and points being awarded. It was meant as a re-introduction to a wine style that has become known more as lolly water than a drop worth drinking, and some producers were keen to change the perception. There WERE spit buckets available, but most of us were swallowing (as became evident as the tasting went on). At least two of us were taking notes: Alex Pritchard (@azp74 – congrats on the safe arrival of the baby, Alex!) has her post at the Eating Adelaide site, and this is my effort. Interestingly, we both had problems – Alex’s pen dried up on her (so the analogue solution had a failure event) and I lost the first few notes I was making on the iPhone (the digital solution wasn’t infallible either).

So what is the revolution? It seems that colour and flavour are it’s most obvious changes: generally paler (less skin contact) and more savoury (less residual sugar) seems to be the go these days. Most of the wines we tried would contend quite easily with some reasonably serious meat dishes, but they generally managed to retain the light, fresh feel that we enjoy about rose – it’s an interesting walk on the tightrope.

A couple of caveats about the following notes:

  • I’m a wine drinker … not a wine maker, wine critic or wine writer. I drink wine because I enjoy it, not because I’m an “expert”
  • Following from that (as mentioned earlier) – although I was only having very small serves, I didn’t spit any out … which potentially affected the later samples
  • Everything I say about the wines is subjective – it’s one guy’s opinion, and you don’t have to share it

The first four wines are the ones that I lost the notes for (so the problem had NOTHING to do with the drinking!), so they are from memory, or have no opinion tendered.

DeBortoli Rococo Sparkling Rose: I don’t need the notes to recall this as an absolute cracker – this is the quintessential “sunny Sunday afternoon with your mates” drop, or equally at home as an aperitif for that “the boss is coming to dinner, I need to impress” occasion. I suspect the following wines suffered by comparison … it’s a very pretty bottle too.

DeBortoli Yarra Valley Pinot Noir Rose 2010: This may have been too big a contrast with the Rococo, but I recall that I wasn’t taken greatly with this wine. I need to revisit this in different circumstances, given its provenance …

Charles Melton Brut Peche Sparkling Rose: a methode champenoise wine, complete with dosage, and an interesting array of grapes as input … again, this may have suffered being out of sequence, as it seemed a little sweet – maybe less, or no dosage would have improved it?

Rogers and Rufus Barossa Rose 2010:  a grenache-based rose that was the first I tried of the really-really-pale-pink colour, nice and dry. This seems to be a specialist rose producer …

[back to saved notes now]

Longview Boatshed Nebbiolo Rose 2010: “lots of fruit on the nose, quite sweet to smell, rosehip and cherries. Good fruit on palate, dry acid finish. Blush colour.”

Vinteloper Shiraz McLaren Vale Rose 2010: “darker than others, but still light red. Beetroot and carrot on the nose. Dry and light on the tongue, strawberry lingers, good long finish.”

Mayhem Adelaide Hills ‘Little Bubbles’ Sparkling: “Very pale colour. Light strawberry leaf nose. Light sorbet fizz on the tongue, frozen strawberries?”
This is a gewürztraminer, riesling and pinot noir mix, so the pale lightness is not surprising. The name is truth-in-advertising – it reminded me of freeze-dried strawberries that are like snowflakes with a delicate flavour that basically evaporate on the tongue – “little bubbles” indeed.

Spinifex Barossa Valley Rose 2010: “mataro, cinsault, grenache, shiraz. Light medium red colour. Watermelon nose. Dry, heavier flavour, quite savory, more alcohol 13.5%.”

BK Wines ‘Collage’ Saignee Pinot Noir Rose Lenswood 2010: “Indigenous yeast. Wild bramble blackberry nose, pale colour. Sharp, citric flavor, acidy but refreshing.”

Chapel Hill ‘Il Vescovo’ McLaren Vale Sangiovese Rose 2010: “Medium colour, sweet fruit nose, sweet palate to start, with dry acid finish.”

Teusner ‘Salsa’ Barossa Valley Rose 2009: “Grenache mataro. Seaweed on the nose, red rose (as in the flower) colour. Tastes good (palate officially shot to shit).”

I missed a couple of the wines:

“missed out on the misfitt rose from bk wines (Saignee pinot noir fermented on chardy skins) and DeBortoli La Boheme”
“woops – cock up with Torbreck saignee      – wine australia keeping it for themselves?”

While it wasn’t a “serious” tasting, it was a very pleasant way to try some new rose styles. I enjoyed them all, and some would probably have made a better impression if they had been sequenced differently, drunk with food or just at a different time and place … I intend to give them all another look!

Thanks as well to Feast Fine Foods, who supplied some great meats, cooked with great love and care by Richard Gunner, on the very impressive (and expensive) Onfalos BBQ … and to Mark Baulderstone from Riedel who supplied the glassware (I don’t THINK we broke any).