Do you know the way to good Rosé?

Sally Evans

Isure do! You turn left just past Cessnock airport. Hunter producers are taking Rosé seriously these days, and some jolly tasty drops are being made by many local makers, often using fruit from further afield to extend their creative options. To continue the Dionne Warwick mash-up – I’ve got lots of friends who drink Rosé. Its popularity has pretty well doubled over the past 15 years and bottle shop shelves are now groaning with offerings produced right across the country. It’s a broad-church-of-a-wine style: it can be sparkling or still, bone-dry, or quite fruity and sweet, with lots of stops in between. It is made from a wide array of grapes, most commonly red, single variety or blended. It can be made with the saignée method, with the grape juice “bled off” to avoid excessive contact with its red skins; it can be a mixed crush of red and white grapes; or it can be a white wine stained with a portion of red to produce the blushing pinks we so adore. A festive wine to chill and drink young. Good with food, good without.

Charteris Le Fauve Rosé 2021

PJ Charteris’s high-class wines from his New Zealand homeland are already well known to the wine cognoscenti. Finally, after many years as a consultant winemaker in his long-time Hunter base, PJ and wife Chrissi are leaping into a new adventure to feature an Aussie selection heroing Hunter semillon and shiraz, as well as a new offshoot range, Le Fauve – the wild beast – which includes this attractive Rosé made from Shiraz and Grenache fruit grown in the Hilltops District near Young in central NSW. It’s a sophisticated, savoury style with a hint of musk-stick perfume, ripe berry fruit and a nice kick of alcohol. And the colour is gorgeous. Look out for the new Charteris cellar door space in the Peppers Creek complex in central Pokolbin.

RRP $32 |

Vinden Headcase Spinning Away Rosé 2021

A multi-variety blend (Cabernet, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Chardonnay and Semillon) sourced from a number of local vineyards, including the historic old-vine Somerset vineyard purchased recently by the Vinden family. Angus Vinden reports that this wine was his favourite to make in 2021, naming it for his wife Hannah after a Brian Eno song with special memories. A blend of multiple ferments, completed in stainless steel, concrete eggs and French oak barrels. Further maturation in oak has lead to a funky, textural wine, bone-dry with plenty of zing. Look out for Vinden’s other Rosé offerings, especially their lightly sparkling, delicately off-dry Alicante Bouschet, a fascinating rarity as one of the few grapes with red flesh.

RRP $30 |

Dirt Candy The Gamechanger Rosé 2021

Shiraz grapes from the higher-altitude Hilltops District were lightly crushed and left for just a few hours on skins before initial fermentation in steel tanks, completing the process in oak to create texture and complexity. A pretty, summery wine, deep pink in colour, with a hint of fruity sweetness. Winemaker Daniel Payne explains “this wine was named after my first daughter Lucy as it was pink, and after growing up with boys, having a girl was a game changer for me.” Sugar and spice and all things nice.

RRP $30 |

McLeish Dwyer Rosé 2021

Robert and Maryanne McLeish have been working their De Beyers Road property since 1985, winning many awards for classic aged semillons. The “Dwyer” label is so named in honour of Maryanne’s mother Marie Dwyer. Merlot is the base for this textural Rosé from the warm 2021 vintage, grown on the estate and bunch-thinned during ripening to accentuate the merlotness of the fruit. A delicate wine featuring fragrant strawberry fruit with a waft of honeyed spice, it finishes crisp and dry. Chill, drink, chill.

RRP $23 |

Krinklewood Francesca Rosé 2021

The bucolic, French-inspired vibe of Krinklewood’s beautiful estate near Broke makes it the perfect place for delicious Rosé. Made from merlot and mataro (also known as mourvedre) grown in the warm, fertile McLaren Vale, minimal skin contact has created a juicy, floral wine layered with the rosy sweetness of Turkish delight. All wines made here are certified biodynamic, so you can feel virtuous while knocking back a few glasses in the summer sun. This more classic style, named prettily after the granddaughter of the winery’s original owner, has a creative cousin worth looking out for: Wild Pink is a fun, fruity, refreshingly spritzy drop made from local verdelho and chardonnay, stained with a hint of shiraz.

RRP $35 |