Did you know that rosé wines (both still and sparkling) are perhaps the most versatile, food-friendly wines around? “Rose” first arrived in Champagne when Count Thibault returned from the Holy Crusades with rose wine in 1240. More than five hundred years later Veuve Clicquot was the first champagne house to actually commercialise a rose champagne, and rose has in fact been in and out of fashion ever since. As a general rule of thumb European rose wines tend to be dry, while rose wines from the United States are generally sweet. Naturally here in the lucky country (Australia) we’re able to produce every conceivable style of rose!
Today there are two primary methods of producing rose wine. Most rose wines are the result of crushing red grapes, with maceration on the skins lasting only a few hours, so that the grape skins are not able to impart much colour – or much tannin – to the final wine. Alternatively basic rosé can also be made by blending a small amount of finished red wine into a finished white wine. This will result in a light blush wine, but the palate will be completely different than that of a saignee rose.
Although never an equal match for really serious white and red wines, when well made (ie without a lot of sugar), Australian rose wines can nevertheless be quite stylish in character and flavour – ie dry with good fruit/acid balance and palate structure, in the mould of premium quality mediterranean roses. Of course a tinge of pink not only brings some beautiful savoury red fruit flavours into play on the palate, it also creates great eye candy on any dining table (especially in the case of Yarra Valley’s best bubblies such as De Bortoli’s Rococo and Dominique Portet pictured here).
On November 30th 2011, thanks to a heart felt campaign originally created by passionate dry rose lovers(and Victorian winemakers) Leanne De Bortoli and Stephen Webber, more than 70 Australian wineries came together online(on facebook and twitter) and in 25 meet up spaces around Australia to enjoy tastings, tweet ups and even special wine flights matched to food.
In Sydney, award-winning boutique wine bistro Fix St James hosted an afternoon trade tasting of more than 40 different roses, followed by a sit down showcase dinner featuring 17 rose wines matched to food. And the results? 2,536 tweets generated by 458 contributors, which created 170,000 impressions (in the last 50 tweets), causing the hashtag #roserev to trend across Australia.
#RoseRevolution’s manifesto is to promote the understanding and consumption of “rose for adults”; ie to showcase the much drier, more refined and textural styles of rose wine available, which complement Australia’s asian influenced cuisine and match our outdoor lifestyle. A range of exciting on premise and off premise summer rose revolution initiatives is also being planned, with many restaurants and retailers already onboard to help spread the message. If you’re not sure where to find a great rose to get involved, have a look at some of the specials on the Rose Revolution website: http://rosewinerevolution.com/home.html
Check out the participating wineries and venue supporters:
Have your say about the rose revolution on facebook: