You can't beat a crisp, dry rose

By Time of article published Sep 28, 2009

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I love exploring the great, exciting world of wine. As with any good journey there are surprises around every corner.

Part of my journey is an on-going search for a crisp, dry rosé wine. I believe this is a style that is perfectly suited to the casual South African lifestyle.

I abhor those semi-sweet horrors that winemakers like to describe as "a sweet little wine for the ladies." How toe-curlingly condescending that is!

Fortunately, most of our winemakers have grown out of that. Maybe their wives woke them up with a brisk smack around the ears, which is what they so richly deserved.

Two delightful rosés that I have tasted recently are the Whalehaven Strawberry Fields and De Meye's Shiraz Rosé.

They're as different as can be, but each a delight in its own way.

The Whalehaven Strawberry Fields is a light-hearted, fruit-driven wine with a crisp, nicely balanced finish and a waft of strawberry aroma.

It should be a perfect accompaniment to a patio lunch of smoked salmon and salads. It may also go well with sushi.

The De Meye Shiraz Rosé is a slightly more serious drink, still light and crisply dry, but with a suggestion of shiraz smokiness and savoury notes in the background. I think it would be the perfect accompaniment to roast pork or a veal cutlet.

And my wine cupboard also has a permanent place for another rather delightful rosé, Stonehill's Bristle Rosé from the Devon Valley. Made from cabernet sauvignon, it combines layers of fruit and savoury flavours into quite a serious wine that goes well with a whole range of food and can be enjoyed happily on its own.

(Besides, it's nice to have a wine that's named after a dog.)

These wines should be enjoyed quite young, so I plan to have none of mine left over by the end of the summer.

(Actually, they'll be gone well before Christmas. I must stock up before they are discovered.)

lIt will be very interesting to compare the results of the Cape Winemakers' Guild (CWG) Auction to those of last week's Nederburg Auction.

The CWG Auction takes place at Spier on October 3.

At Nederburg, the prices were very modest and bidding was not as enthusiastic as it might have been, but the majority of wines on offer were obviously for resale, and the bidders were all licensed wine sellers.

Whenever large prices were bid, they were for small and rare lots, probably for personal consumption.

Saturday's event is open to all buyers, and the prices that are paid will be for personal consumption (some, of course, may be for trade, but this auction is open to private buyers).

The CWG wines are made specially for the auction by members of the guild and are not available anywhere else.

Nederburg showed that - in spite of the hard economic times - some people are still able to pay high prices for exceptional wines. The rich are still rich.

Let's see whether those buyers will turn out to add rare wines to their personal cellars.

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