Rose. Strictly between ourselves I used to think of it as a bit of a sissy girls’ drink. Then, in 2020 when we were shrouded in bushfire smoke, Ian Porter, Professor of Plant Science at La Trobe, advised me not to make Pinot but to give Rose a go instead. All the smoke taint chemicals are concentrated in the grapes’ red skins rather than the pale juice, he said. I half took his advice and made half the crop into Rose which turned out well. The 2020 Pinot, as he predicted, was a dismal failure.
For each of the subsequent two years, we’ve made some Rose, employing the Saignee technique. This involves bleeding off lightly-coloured juice 12-24 hours after crushing then fermenting it separately. (There is a bit more to a decent Rose than that but if I told you I’d have to kill you). With each Rose vintage, in my rigorously scientific opinion, I’ve been getting better at it, but (to borrow a phrase from the late lamented Frankie Howerd), my flabber was ghasted when we made it into James Halliday’s Top One Hundred Wines. If you don’t believe me, here’s the proof:
We still have some of the 22 Rose, but it’s going fast.