Sparkling & Rosé Wines – January 2020

It’s summer – time to slow down and smell the rosés. Once dismissed as ‘lolly water’, rosé is now wildly popular. Hundreds of pink and orange/pink wines are lining the shelves, with refreshing, buoyant, berryish flavours, dry or off-dry, mouth-watering crispness – and loads of drink-young charm.

The tasting attracted rosés grown from Auckland to Central Otago (even including one from the Horowhenua – Ohau Not The Norm Pinot Rosé 2019, 4 stars, $24). Those grown in North Island regions are typically based on Merlot, but South Island rosés are principally made from Pinot Noir (although note that wines labelled as ‘Pinot Rosé’ are often produced partly or predominantly from Pinot Gris).

Summer is also a good time to enjoy a chilled glass of wine with bubbles in it. Sparkling wine can be a great partner for seafood. As one wit put it: ‘Champagne’s involved? I’ll be there in a prosecco.’

Marlborough produces many stylish, bottle-fermented bubblies – accounting for half the wines in the tasting – and classy sparklings are also flowing from Central Otago and other regions. Fizz based on popular varietal white wines, such as Sileni Sparkling Cuvée Pinot Gris NV and Sileni Sparkling Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc NV, were also part of the tasting.

Best Buys

Hunter’s Miru Miru NV ****1/2 $29
Mission Vineyard Selection Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2019 **** $20
Pask Instinct Berry Blush Rosé 2019 ***1/2 $17

Treat Yourself

Maori Point Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 ****1/2 $26
Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Vintage Rosé 2016 ***** $49
Q Waitaki Valley Rosé 2019 ***** $34