Valentine’s Day is around the corner and what better wine to celebrate all things love, hugs and kisses than a Rosé with its alluring pink color?
Rosé is one of the fastest growing wine categories in South Africa and internationally. A Rosé is a type of wine that incorporates some of the color extracted from the grape skins. It may be the oldest known type of wine, as it is the most straightforward to make with the skin contact method. The pinkish color can range from a pale “onion-skin” orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grape varieties and winemaking techniques. In France, Portugal and English-speaking countries it is known as Rosé, in Spain as Rosado and in Italy Rosato.
Rosé Rocks is South Africa’s first dedicated Rosé competition which seeks to recognize excellence in Rosé winemaking and promote the SA Rosé category. The first competition was held late last year.
One of the judges was Tinashe Nyamudoka, sommelier, wine judge and founder of Kumusha Wines. He says South African Rosé’s quality is improving. “I suspect that producers are now growing a portion of the vineyard solely to produce quality Rosé and not just using excess grapes or young vines.
“The different array of the hue from pale, onion skin, salmon to bright pink suggests that a variety of wine grape are being used. Rosé is the best of both (red and white) worlds. Rosé is not meant to be thought-provoking. There are only two questions: Do you like the hue? Does it taste good?”
Some of the Double Gold winners in the competition’s still wine category, include De Morgenzon Garden Vineyards Rosé 2020; Delaire Graff Empress Rosé Cabernet Franc 2020 and Delaire Graff Rosé Cabernet Franc 2020; Delheim Pinotage Rosé 2020; Ernie Els Wines Big Easy Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2020; Fairview Rosé Quartz 2020; La Petite Ferme Baboon Rock 2020 and Vrede en Lust Jess 2020.
What is Rosé made of?
The varietals most often used in making a Rosé include Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Zinfandel. Delheim made SA’s first Pinotage Rosé. Delheim’s winemaker, Roelof Lotriet says the decision was made during the rising years of Pinotage. The fact that Pinotage’s flavor profile and sugar/acid balance is perfect for Rosé, was a huge plus factor. The cherry on top for me is the fact that the color that Pinotage grapes gives the Rosé is the most unique shade of pink that no other cultivar can produce.”
Roelof says “What excites me as a winemaker about Rose, is that I have to put ‘summer’ in a bottle. The challenge is to produce a wine that will be a perfect fit for those summer days sipping wine next to the pool or overlooking the ocean. While Rosé is mostly drunk as refreshment in warm weather, it also pairs very well with winter dishes like spicy curries. I think Rosé is the fastest-growing style of wine because it can be made in so many different ways. It is far more accessible to the public at a good price.
Roelof laughs and says his favorite Rosé cocktail comprises three parts Rosé in a Martini glass!
Serving Temperature for Rosé
Delaire Graff winemaker Morné Vrey suggests not drinking Rosé too chilled. “By doing this during the colder winter days, the wine will come forward more rich and textured. If you feel adventurous, drink it in a black glass. This takes away the prejudice some people have towards Rosé and makes one focus more on the flavors and smell.”
He says he will encourage readers to drink more Rosé as it generally has less alcohol. “Making this the perfect wine to have for brunch with some salmon, it accompanies any light lunch, and is the best wine you can start your evening with. Rosé is made in so many different styles from pale and fruity to darker, richer barrel fermented, which makes it easy to match with various cuisines and cooking styles.”
Morné’s most memorable experience with Rosé and food, was steak tartar in a Amsterdam restaurant with Delaire Graff Cabernet Franc Rosé. “Try it, it works. We’ve even used this pairing as inspiration at our own restaurants.”
Rosé in Bubbles
If you want a little sparkle in your Valentine’s Day, try the Peramo Anniversario Rosé from Italy. It is made from Raboso Piave grapes, giving it a jasper red color, with fine bubbles and aromas of strawberry, raspberry rose petals, and spice. It has an elegant acid and red apple finish.
Khao Soi Recipe
Food stylist, Elmarie Berry developed this rich Thai Coconut Milk Noodle Soup (Khao Soi) that pairs perfectly with the Delheim Pinotage Rosé.
200g Roka Pad Thai Noodles
2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
A thumb size piece of ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1-3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, the more you use the spicier it gets, you decide
1 can coconut milk
500ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
300g chicken fillets grilled and cubed
Fresh coriander or basil
Prepare Noodles – Follow the instructions on the packet.
In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, garlic, ginger, red Thai curry paste and turmeric. Sauté until fragrant and golden, about 4 minutes.
Add the stock, sugar, soy sauce and coconut milk bring to a simmer and add the diced chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the noodles and serve with fresh herbs, bean sprouts and a squeeze of lime.