Rosé is the style of vino you’ve just got to taste blind, even if it does make the visually prettiest wines. Which is what we’ll be doing tommorow at the weekly RECM blind tasting with category Rosé at the Pendock Wine Gallery @ Taj. The wines will then be available for tasting by all at the Taj Hotel from 5-7pm. Do come along.
Blind is more essential than normal as there is a widespread anorak perception that “Rosé does not make serious wine.” Something that became obvious when I chaired last year’s Classic Wine Rosé panel. Platter had rated the maiden 2011 vintage of the Brink Family Pinotage Rosé from Pulpit Rock sighted at 1½ stars last year with the dismissive comment “lacks nuance.”
Tasted sighted, this is a wine with everything stacked against it: made from Pinotage, low price (sub R30), low profile (as to be almost invisible) Afrikaans speaking producer and Rosé. All it has in its favour is a semi-fashionable address, hailing from the Swartland, which is developing something of a reputation for producing wines of character. Although not the perhaps over-hyped Paardeberg and from the wrong side of fashion’s tracks: Riebeek-Wes rather than luvvie central, Riebeek-Kasteel.
Yet when we tasted the next vintage blind it triumphed. In fact, it was the most consistently scored entry of the 94 tasted. In the first round, all five judges scored it 16/20 – a solid four star stunner among 14 that scored four stars, the top rating. The string of adjectives evoked included “rooibos tea, concentrated, savory, Campari-style wine.”
In the second round, with the important prior information that the wine was a finalist, scores increased to 16.5, 16.5, 17, 17, 17 – again remarkably consistent and my tasting note advanced to “fresh celery and sea salt, minerals and more.” This is a wine which confirms the power of blind tastings as the Pienk Panel was a diverse one, consisting of Swartland chef and Kokkedoor Kampioen Mynhardt Joubert, upcountry wine educator Chris de Klerk, winemaker Clive Torr, lifestyle writer Greg Landman and yours truly.
Let’s hope the Pulpit Rock will be in tomorrow’s line-up as the flood of public holidays has messed up deliveries. On Wednesday evening I fly to Brussels for the 20th running of the Concours Mondial and then a week tasting blind around Portugal with Portuguese winemaker, supermarket buyer and writer Aníbal Coutinho. We’ll surely encounter some revealing Rosés there.