Summer wine sales are coming up rose

SUMMER WINE: Supermarket sales show in the year to date, Kiwis purchased 861,607 bottles of still rose wine.
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax Media

SUMMER WINE: Supermarket sales show in the year to date, Kiwis purchased 861,607 bottles of still rose wine.

Summer wine sales are coming up rose.

The pink drink has lost its reputation as lolly water and customers are buying it in record volumes.

Supermarket sales show in the year to date, Kiwis purchased 861,607 bottles of still rose wine – 40 per cent more than five years ago. Drinkers favour it as a summer tipple with the bulk being sold between November and February.

Experts say Kiwis have always bought rose for its colour, but today, we're also being rewarded by taste.

"In the early 1980s, we just made this awful, sweet stuff," says John Saker, Cuisine's New Zealand wine writer. "You kept a safe distance from it because it was just vile. It was candy-flossy, sweet and soft. It had no structure."

He says "the ship is turning" with more local winemakers creating dry Provence-style roses. At a Cuisine tasting of new roses (due to publish on December 15), Saker says judges noted "a big improvement across the board", with 12 wines gaining four or more stars. 

The style also had a good showing in the recent Air New Zealand Wine Awards. 

While a Falconhead Hawke's Bay Viognier was last night named champion of the "rose and other white styles", three roses –  Esk Valley, SOHO and Terra Sancta Estate – had  won gold medals. In 2012, no roses made gold.

Saker says the style drinks like a white but is made from red wine grapes, and is "very food flexible – it can go with pizza, every salad you can name, seafood ..."

Wine writer Yvonne Lorkin says "in the bad old days" the only rose that could be bought here was Portuguese Mateus.

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"There was a lot that was just made as an after-thought; the leftovers from the red wine making process... the thing now is winemakers are purpose-building their rose ... with the same degree of care and attention they would their sauvignon blanc, their chardonnay or their pinot."

For the record, a 2013 Hawke's Bay chardonnay – Vidal Legacy – was last night named champion wine of the Air New Zealand show.

 - Sunday Star Times

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