Working women go rosy-cheeked in bid to pin down best pink wines

THEY were an assemblage sure to have the most seasoned wine- makers shivering in their boots as they put pink wines from some of the Cape’s most celebrated estates to the test.

This was not a gathering of fearsome wine show judges or critical bloggers. Working women, ordinary wine-lovers and consumers, these “test drivers” are also stalwarts of local wine clubs, food societies, theatre productions, and innumerable gourmet dinners and cultural events.

Vine Time gave them several rosy offerings to taste, until the cheeks were blushing as much as the wines.

Forget the fancy wine-tasting terminology – this was a tasting session that saw down-to-earth descriptions like “smelly feet”, “smiley-happy wine” and “wine with balls” tossed around.

The big hit for both taste and value was Cederberg Rosé 2013 (R46). This Shiraz-based rosé has a deceptively sweet candyfloss nose, which develops into creamy but crisp, ripe red fruit. It “bounces on the tongue” and offers “happy colour and taste”.

The consensus: it over-delivers on price, and is easy-drinking enough for patio days as well as complex enough for good food – think seared salmon, prawns, braaied line-fish, creamy chicken and lively salads.

Close second, Diemersdal sauvignon rosé (R55), has won awards for its innovative blend, with 7% cabernet added to a Sauvignon Blanc. Its distinctive passion-fruit nose is followed by succulent cherry and strawberry flavours and a dry finish.

There’s no pink frivolity here – our tasters reckoned the complex flavours needed the “commitment of a proper meal”.

Cabernet sauvignon is considered the most serious of red wines and it was interesting that the only other pink involving this cultivar, the Mulderbosch rosé (R46) was also judged as needing “serious food”. Its deliciously fruity nose introduces a wine with real presence or, as the tasters said, “This is wine with balls”.

Leopard’s Leap cracked the nod for crisp, lively easy-drinking at a great price (R38), while De Grendel’s pinotage/cabernet sauvignon rosé (R40-R55) also rated well for its marshmallow nose, and slightly burnt sugar flavour with hints of spiciness.

Delaire Graff’s rosé (R40) is made from cabernet franc, which gives sour-cherry flavours and a lightly spiced finish.

One of pink wine’s “old faithfuls”, the Beyerskloof pinotage rosé (R52), was full, soft and fruity, and, with a stronger flavour than some of the lighter pinks, would probably do a great job of cooling down Thai-spicy dishes.

Zevenwacht’s Zevenrose (R42) was judged acceptable for patios and picnics, with a slight sparkle but a bit musty and stale in taste compared with most of the others.

Prices are averaged from a selection of bottle stores. You’ll find a good selection at Preston’s, Ultra and Spar Tops.

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