Everything’s Coming Up Rosés

Falling on Friday the 5th of February, just in time to kick off the Waitangi holiday weekend in style, NZ Rosé Day is the annual celebration of our country’s premium pinks which are soaring in popularity with Kiwis.

Established six years ago by Sip NZ, Rosé Day is designed to support local producers and raise awareness of premium New Zealand Rosé which now offers a wide variety of styles, sweetness levels and price points.

Rosé is the fastest growing wine variety in the country, and while no summer picnic, long lunch or sunny celebration is complete without it, the variety is no longer considered only suited to summer- only sipping but is now enjoying year-round popularity.

New Zealand Winegrowers 2020 Annual Report showed that Rosé is now the fourth largest New Zealand wine export, exporting 5.6 million litres globally last year. That is more than double the 2.4 million litres in 2017, and 10 times that of 2010, when New Zealand exported just 0.56 million litres of Rosé.

Despite lockdown challenges during harvest, the 2020 vintage has been outstanding and Rosé lovers are spoilt for choice with a large variety of high-quality Rosé wines available this summer.

The wine regions of Northland, Auckland (particularly Matakana and West Auckland), Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Nelson, Marlborough, North Canterbury and Waitaki all produce notable Rosé in differing styles and hues with varieties ranging from fresh and fruity to savoury and textural.

Like all New Zealand Rosé these come in a variety of pink shades but are typically lighter-bodied, drier, paler, and more refined than the style consumers may have previously remembered. Pinot Noir grapes are the mainstay of New Zealand’s Rosé production especially in cooler, southern wine regions like Marlborough and Central Otago.

Known for Pinot Noir, Central Otago naturally produces some top-quality Pinot-Noir based Rosé wines which are gaining international recognition. Packed with berry and cherry flavours and touches of spice and herbs the palate is crisp and lively.

In contrast, Gisborne-Tairawhiti Rosé reflects the region’s fertile soils and long hot summers with refreshingly distinct, fruit-driven wines mostly from a Merlot and Syrah base. There’s a mix of large producers, boutique wineries and entrepreneurial growers here producing a diverse range of wines and the region is an increasingly popular destination for kiwis rediscovering their back yard.

Waiheke Rosé is mostly made from Merlot and Syrah grapes and yet again has a distinct tone that differs from other regions. This warm, dry maritime climate promotes depth, intensity and purity that sets it apart – in many respects – not just in terms of the fruit it produces.

Did you know?

  • Rosé is not a grape variety, it is made by lightly crushing red grapes and only leaving the grape juice to macerate with the red skins for a short time.
  • The final shade of pink relates to the grape variety used as well as the length of skin contact permitted between juice and pigment-rich grape skins.
  • Darker Rosé usually has deeper flavours and the more tannic qualities of red wine.
  • There are two distinct styles of Rosé - blush and dry. Blush Rosés are usually lighter in colour, less acidic and lower in alcohol. Dry Rosés are less sweet, usually darker in colour, with more of the flavours associated with red wine.
  • Rosé is best served in a medium-sized glass so that the fresh and fruity characteristics gather towards the top.
  • Serve Rosé chilled but not too cold or you’ll kill the flavour. If in doubt, follow the 20:20 rule and take it out of the fridge 20 mins before serving.
  • There's a Rosé to suit most food types and occasions - Rosé is great with canapés, savoury tapas, seafood, light pasta dishes and many Thai, Indian and Mediterranean-style dishes.

Will you be celebrating NZ Rosé Day this year? Let us know by getting in touch, sophie@reviewmags.com

Want to see more culinary calendar days? Check out our 2021 wall planner here.