La Vie en Rosé

Rosé revivals revisited in this week’s Financial Mail in an attempt to chase away those sub-prime blues.

rose La Vie en Rosé

The rosé renaissance has finally arrived, in France at least, with the news that sales of pink are expected to exceed those of white this year. The secret of rosé’s revival is not hard to find: it’s a white wine made from red grapes and so has all the benefits of red and black fruit flavours, lower alcohol levels plus all the advantages of being served cold in a hot European summer. It doesn’t need to be kept – and should be drunk on sight – which goes down well in a rampant consumer society where delayed gratification is an unknown concept. But perhaps the biggest pink plus is price.

British newspapers are full of rosé revival stories, even if The Telegraph is left pink faced with their report on “rose (NB acute accent on e).” No wonder rosé sales in the UK are up 40% this year. A further attraction is the suitability of fresh rosé to increasingly popular cuisine styles like those from Thailand and Vietnam.

Rosés are some of the best priced undiscovered gems of the Winelands and during a recent tasting trip around the Cape, I compiled a mixed case, tabulated according to price:

1. De Krans 2008: Cassis and blackcurrants from Cabernet Sauvignon. Excellent match with prawns. 13.5% alcohol. Brilliant price: R21.; Tel. 044 213 3314.

2. Goedverwacht 2008: Made from Shiraz, 12g residual sugar is well hidden by a fresh acid line. Good value at R25.; Tel. 023 616 3430.

3. De Meye 2008: Another Shiraz rosé, but this one with a bit more tannin and grip than you’d expect. R30.; Tel. 021 88 44 131.

4. Ridgeback 2008: Viognier and Shiraz, light and bone dry with exotic peach overtones. 13.5% alcohol. R30.; Tel. 082 554 0176

5. Hartenberg 2007: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; cold iced-tea for grown-ups; 12.5% alcohol; R30 good value.; Tel. 021 865 2541

6. Brampton 2007: strawberries, cream and rose petals; made from Shiraz and Cabernet plus a few extras. 13.5% alcohol. R33.; 021 809 1200.

7. Goats do Roam 2008: ripe strawberries from Pinotage and Shiraz plus assorted other cultivars in lesser amounts. 13.5% alcohol. R35.; 021 863 2450.

8. Saxenburg Guinea Fowl 2007: fruity Shiraz and Pinotage with some smoke. R35.; Tel. 021 903 6113

9. Klein Constantia 2007: Merlot and Cabernet deliver mint and cherries. 14% alcohol. R38.; Tel. 021 794 5188.

10. Glen Carlou 2008: a Pinotage rosé that packs a punch: 15% alcohol. R39.; Tel. 021 875 5528

11. Buitenverwachting 2008: classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc plus Merlot. Fine and intense flavours, 13.5% alcohol. Remarkable. R40.; 021 794 5190.

12. Kloovenburg 2008: called white from red (Shiraz) this is more of a blanc de noir than a rosé and a serious one at that. R55. There is a sparkling version at the same price. Just the thing for the land of the hot Christmas. Reminiscent of that sparkling Aussie Shiraz UK pundit Hugh Johnson memorably described as “a fat old man dressed up as a fairy.”; Tel. 022 448 1635.