Cheers to Rosé

Posted by Jade MacCallum on 14 September 2017 08:00:00 CAT



The rise of rosé over the last couple of years is one of the great comeback stories in wine. Previously perceived as too sweet, as an afterthought made from leftover grapes, and as a drink for grandmothers, rosé just wasn’t cool. But the tides have turned and wine drinkers, especially millennials, are associating the pink drink with the good life. Any stigma of rosé being sweet or of low quality is now a thing of the past but compared with its red and white cousins, rosé wine still gets a huge amount of criticism from wine snobs. Rosé haters often fall into two categories: those thinking that "pink is for girls," or those who have been exposed to sugary, mass-produced product. We are tickled pink by rosé  and have put together this cheat sheet to put an end to all those nasty rose rumours!

Rosé is by no means new - the wine itself has been consumed for millennia and the ancient Greeks enjoyed wines similar to rosé in color and taste.  Legendary European Champagne houses Krug and Ruinart began growing grapes for rosé in the eighteenth century. Most rosé wines are blends and are made from a wide variety of grapes, some of the most common grape varieties used in dry/European-style rosé are Grenache, Sangiovese, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, and Pinot Noir.


 As South Africa is blessed with some of the best wines in the world, some of them hailing from the critically acclaimed Antonij Rupert Wynes. It all began in 1688 when numerous French Huguenots arrived in the Cape.  Just four years after their arrival they were given the rights to the land known as the Drakenstein Valley by the Dutch East India Company. Amongst these Huguenots was Jean Roi, born in Lourmarin in Provence, France. He was granted around 51 hectares, with that he began fruit farming and  in 1694 he planted 4000 vines. This was the beginning for the L'Ormarins farm, which he named after his hometown. He built on the excellent foundation laid by Simon van der Stel, who produced his first wine in 1659 – the enormous quantity of 15 litres of Muscadel.  Before van der Stel, Jan van Riebeeck paved the way for the Huguenots by planting 1000 vines on his farm Bosheuvel (now  known as the suburb Bishopscourt).


The Old Historic Cellar was built in 1799 and followed by Manor House in 1811.  During all these years the estate maintained a rich history of viticulture and winemaking.  Over the centuries L’Ormarins changed hands on many occasions. Between 1727 and 1856 it was occupied by the Haarhoffs, Jouberts, de Villiers’, Marais’, Morkels.  Up to 1957 the owners were the Lategans, Silberbauers and Hamiltons. 

 In 1969 a new chapter for L’Ormarins began when the Rupert family bought the estate.  In addition to restoring the gracious homestead to its Huguenot splendor, the estate was completely redeveloped using new and noble varieties.  L’Ormarins now also has one of the most modern state-of-the-art wine cellars in the Cape, described by experts as “a winemakers’ dream”.

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Given this rich history, it is safe to say that Rosé is not made by mixing red and white wine! It is  carefully crafted. As red grapes are lightly crushed and left to macerate with their red skins for a limited time (anywhere from a few hours to a few days), after which the juice is strained  allowing for fermentation to take place.   

It is a common misconception that all pink wine is sweet, In fact look out for dry varieties - these wines are fresh and acidic, without extra sugar to bury flavours and aromas. A general guide is rosé = dry and blush = sweet. Rosé, unlike red wine does not improve over the years - so don't get any ideas about hoarding it in your cellar for half a century. Rosé is best consumed within two years from the release date - and to be honest the sooner the better.

Monday, the 25th of September is a Public Holiday and to celebrate the rich history of rosé as well as the contiuance of its success,  we are hosting a delightful day out, inspired by the blush tones of rosé wines. Why not join us for a bountiful, bubble inspired "Harvest Table" lunch ,with bottomless Cap Classique from the L'Ormarins range of wines and sip away the day.

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