Rise of Rosé

Serious wine drinkers used to turn their noses up at rosé – not any more. Here’s why rosé is having a moment - and our list of 11 rosés to try

A lady pouring glasses of rose amongst a grazing board

It seems hard to believe but 10 years ago barely anyone was drinking rosé. After moving in and out of favour during the 1970s and ’80s, this blush-hued wine had been relegated to kitsch status, not helped by the dark-pink, sweet style that was popular at the time. In the “serious” wine-drinking community, people did not choose rosé; it was considered something made from grapes that weren’t good enough to make a decent red.

Fast-forward a decade and the pink drink is a worldwide winner. 

In Australia, the number of rosé drinkers has doubled from 17 per cent in 2007 to 36 per cent today. And those who predicted that the wine would quickly slide back into a rose-tinted memory have been proved wrong. Driven by its wide-ranging appeal and increasing premiumisation – and with a hint of summer in the air – rosé’s trajectory continues upward.

The Provence region in south-eastern France is regarded as the rosé capital of the world. Wine has been made here for more than two millennia, making it the country’s oldest wine-producing region. It is the only region to focus on rosé and is even home to a research institute, the Centre de Recherche et d'Expérimentation sur le Vin Rosé, dedicated to the style. It’s also the birthplace of the boom that started around 2007, with annual production of wine now sitting at a staggering 14 million cases a year, around 80 per cent of which is rosé. 

Here in Australia we are pretty parochial, with almost 80 per cent of rosé drinkers choosing to buy local. Over the past decade or so, wineries across the country have been making rosé from a diverse array of varietals, both single grape and blends. 

Rosé is made in almost every wine-making region in the Antipodes, from the full-bodied, deep-coloured, fruity rosés of the warmer areas, such as McLaren Vale or the Barossa, to the Provence-style, ever-so-pale, dry rosés of the cooler districts, including the Yarra Valley and Tasmania and across the ditch in Hawke’s Bay, Central Otago and Marlborough.

A large part of rosé’s charm lies in its simplicity and that makes it very food-friendly. Light and medium dry rosés pair well with fish, seafood, pasta, salads and spicy foods, while more medium-bodied dry rosés can match it with bigger flavours, such as paella, grilled chicken, herbed lamb and barbecued meat.

The elegant, delicate flavours of a fruity rosé are ideal with seared tuna or lobster, while a full-bodied fruity rosé will stand up well to bold flavours, such as steak and chops.

Try these

Roaring Beach Rosé, Tamar Valley. 

Aromas of ripe strawberry with creamy tones and a dry finish.

Rosé D’Amelie AOC Luberon Rose, France. 

Crisp with notes of wild strawberries and fresh cherries.

Abbey Vale Rosé, Margaret River. 

Exhibits pure aromas of wild strawberries and white florals, and finishes dry.

Bird in Hand Pinot Rosé, Adelaide Hills.

Crispy, racy with plenty of strawberry and cherry fruit character.

Torbreck Woodcutter’s Rosé, Barossa.

Rich, scented and bone dry with a fruit-filled palate.

Thistledown Gorgeous Grenache Rosé, McLaren Vale. 

Aromatic and light with subtle tannins and beautiful wild fruit.

Felicette Grenache Rosé, Languedoc, France. 

Refreshing, with hints of strawberry and raspberry.

Chateau Cavalier Grand Cavalier Rosé, Provence, France.

Subtle fruitiness balanced by spice.

Croser Rosé NV, Adelaide Hills. 

Creamy, with pomegranate, wild strawberry and cherry aromas. 

Moutard Rosé Champagne, France.

Made from pinot noir, with rich, biscuity summer fruit flavours.

Veuve Clicquot NV Rosé, Champagne, France. 

A fresh first impression followed by red ripe fruits.

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Produced by Vintage Cellars.