Drinks with Al: pretty pink stuff

Did you sip something pink for Valentine’s Day last weekend? You’re not alone. Rosé has been the fastest growing varietal in Australia for the last five years and continues to outpace the rest of the wine category. 

DD and I love drinking Rosé together on a Sunday afternoon, regardless of the date. We opened a bottle of our favourite pink wine on Valentine’s Day – Sandalford Rosé – which we discovered on a trip to Margaret River back in 2017. Sandalford was our stand-out favourite cellar door during our tasting trip. A lovely staffer called Miffi talked us through their luscious list and inspired DD to become a member. 

DD has been ordering regular cases of Sandalford Rosé ever since for me to enjoy on his deck, although there was a crisis last year when they ran out of stock. We tried lots of other pink wines in search of a comparable back-up, but none held a candle to Sandalford.

I’m also quite partial to a pink sparkling wine. Tasmania’s Jansz has some divine ones and I was lucky enough to enjoy a tasting with the winemaker, Jennifer Doyle (above), about three years ago. She’s a lovely woman who’s originally from Orange, but has been seduced by Tassie. She told me how much she enjoys living in a cute little cottage overlooking the sea near Port Arthur and tending to Jansz’s three vineyards: Pipers River, Coal River Valley, and Forcett.

We had lunch together at the Intercontinental Double Bay while sampling six sparkling wines in her portfolio, including two pinks: Jansz Tasmania Vintage Rose 2013 and Jansz Premium Rose NV.

My favourite was the Vintage Rose 2013, which has a pale colour that Doyle compares to Argyle pink diamonds. The nose was fragrant and expressive with aromas of rose water, quince blossom and strawberries, overlaid by notes of truffle and sweet broiche. We sipped it while dining on lemon myrtle cured Tasmanian salmon, with celeriac, red vine sorrel and salmon caviar. A heavenly match!

A more affordable pink sparkling is De Bortoli La Boheme Cuvee Rose, which I often seek out on shelf. DD and I enjoyed the most gorgeous sunset picnic with our first bottle at Clareville Beach about a year ago.

While pink wine is often dismissed by serious oenophiles, I’ve been a dedicated fan for decades, especially on a balmy summer afternoon. It’s such an easy, luscious wine to sip.

My love affair with the varietal was sparked long before my children were even a twinkle in my eye. My ex and I went to the Barossa Valley for a holiday, discovered Turkey Flat Rosé and Charles Melton Rose of Virginia and were hooked.

Looking back, it seems an odd choice of holiday for a girl from Newcastle and a boy from Tumut, but somehow in our late 20s we fell in love with wine tasting, antique shopping and eating at the latest hatted restaurants in the Good Food Guide. While I still like the wine sipping, its been a very long time since I bought an antique or a Good Food Guide.

I wrote a story for Drinks Digest about Constellation Wines’ innovations in the pink genre last week. I spoke to Brand and Activation Manager Andrew Theodosi, who said: “We’re still seeing an increase in popularity and expecting it to stay for some time. Rosé and pink wine made up 10% of all wine launches in Australia during the last five years.

“Rosé is a go-to favourite as the weather starts to warm up – it’s a refreshing, food-friendly wine, perfect for the Aussie lifestyle and al fresco entertaining.”

A new Constellation release called Round Theory hails from New Zealand and has social responsibility at its core – from the sustainable sourced and grown wine to an innovative-shaped bottle designed to minimise its carbon footprint. The bottles are 30% lighter, 35% shorter and made from clear glass which is all 100% recyclable.

“We’ve had really great feedback for Round Theory so far from consumers and retailers – both for the taste and quality of the wine and its unique-shaped bottle that stands out on shelf,” he said.

As for the wine itself, Andrew tells me Round Theory Rosé displays bright aromas of berries and tropical fruits complemented with a soft palate, richly fruited with strawberry and blackberry, leading to a clean dry finish.

I’m looking forward putting it to the test myself this weekend.

Read more about Constellation’s pink stuff here.

Pink spirits are also causing a stir. I’ve just been sent a gorgeous bottle of SVEDKA Rosé Vodka to try – it’s blended with 5% Rosé wine and you serve it poured over ice, with a dash of sparkling water and a garnish of strawberry, lemon or a lychee. It’s a lighter style vodka at 30% ABV, and the press release tells me it exhibits flavours of pineapple and strawberry, complemented by notes of hibiscus. Sounds delicious!

Last weekend I popped up to Newcastle for a belated Christmas lunch with my parents and took a bottle of Stone Pine Rhubarb Gin for my gin-loving mum to try. She’s been enjoying Gordon’s Pink and was excited to taste this more unique offering. The gin combines the flavour and vibrant colour of fresh rhubarb with Stone Pine Distillery’s Dry Gin. The result is a naturally pink gin that tastes deliciously different. It’s also lower in ABV at 25%. Click here for more details.

Mum said she liked that it tasted a little more tart than the usual ones she’s tried. I left the bottle with her so her friends could also give it a spin.

I could talk about pink stuff for hours, but you have your Saturday morning to enjoy, so I’d better stop!

Are you a pink fan? Do you have any favourites you’d recommend?

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