A Rosè is (not always) a Rosè is (not always) a Rosè.

Jared Dixon's 2015 Jilly FIFO Barossa Valley Rosè is orange-red in colour, extraordinary really, with a red fading-to-bronzed orange: something like the robes of Buddhist monks. It has a tart orange Mirella-jube perfume with ripe, juicy mandarin at its edge. The oddity comes from its combination of Marsanne (a white grape) with Grenache and Mataro (reds). So it’s the Marsanne that gives it its tart-jube saltiness. Its cloudiness comes from its limited-interference ideology of making. This relatively new-style winemaking (a revival of an ancient practice?) of minimal interference, producing often a cloudiness in the wine, means that the production of difference on the palate is, for the drinker, the equivalent of learning a new language.



Just as with experimentation in any art form, the drinker has to learn again how to 'read'. But such learning, is, like all learning, inevitably rewarding. In the mouth it is interestingly dry: you'd want to be near salt water when you drank it. A kind of beach/desert/ arid outlook would suit. Spain perhaps. The Middle-Eastern coast. Not quite swimming-tog suitable, but loose-fitting clothes in ecru/cream would go well. A straw sunhat to boot. And, and yeah, sunglasses. Peanuts might be your suitable companions. Or, because of the current penchant for salting everything from caramel to chocolate to ice-cream, one could think about drinking it with these three. It's a Rosé I would not say no to on a hot summer day. See what liquorice would be like with it. I think cheese and bikkies would underplay it. Olive, yes. And taramasalata, and therefore potentially caviar – but then, what would I know about caviar?

Another recent wine in the hand-made style – hand-made incorporating a sense of to experiment with what is at hand – is the 2015 Jilly White Wolf of Cumbria Tempranillo and and Gewurtztraminer. This is the most beautiful deep velvet, ruby red, with a royal purple-blue rim. In aroma it has the toast and nut of Tempranillo with an edge of a middle-sweet to savoury biscuit: a Scotch- finger biscuit gone to the dark side. This time, this mixture incorporates Gewürztraminer, which, to my mind, makes for that cross-border edge. While I have come to be primarily a single-vineyard, single-variety drinker, especially in terms of major grape varieties, the unusual combinations do make for the unexpected, and potentially irresistible – if you have the fly-in-the-face-of criticism streak of the avant garde.

The 2014 Triennes Rosè, Nans les Pins, France, from winemakers Jacques
Seysses and Aubert de Villaine, has a sweet redjube perfume, and, on the
palate, is something like ... well, soda water! Most annoyingly, I had to go to the website to see the grape varieties: Cinsault blended with Grenache, Syrah and Merlot. Though it looks beautiful in its soft, light-pink salmon, I would not return to it for flavour. I think it is Cinsault that I'm not a fan of, associated as it is with cheap, sweet red in Australia.

I've found a Rogers & Rufus in a Northern Rivers bottle-shop: their 2015 Rosè. Rosè is all Rogers and Rufus make, and so far they haven't made a dud, and that includes the 2015. Although as I write this, I find I have only ever written up the 2011. The R&R Rosè had its first vintage in 2009, and I feel like I must have had the other, in-between vintages, familiar as I am with this wine. The 2015's most striking aspect is its very, very pale salmon-pink colour. And of course their good-looking bottle, with its (relatively) distinct cloth strip wrapped around the bottle's neck. As I said of the 2011, this has got to be one of the great Rosès. Only in press for one-four hours with fermentation from naturally occurring yeast, it, indeed has, as the website says, strawberries and cream and blood orange in a dry and textured wine. 

In the case of R&R, a Rosè is a Rosè is a Rosè.

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