The 5 Best From The Wild West: WA Rosé

WORDS BY KEN GARGETT

Rosé from Western Australia. Why the west? Why not!

The idea is simply to show how Australia has finally embraced this style. We could do the same for every state, but what appealed was that quite a few producers are actually doing more than one example. They are looking to different styles of rosé, or using different varieties, or taking the grapes from different regions in the state.

We are looking at rosés from nebbiolo, tempranillo, even the magical ‘red grapes’ from Howard Park (one of my faves), but pinot noir seems the grape most popular for this style. A cynic might suggest that the reason for this is because West Aussie pinot is better as rosé than red wine, which is a little harsh, but no matter.

So, short and sweet today. Your top five are five rosés all worth chasing. And all thanks to the Sandgroper State.

Risky Business Pinot Noir Rose 2017

12% $25

Ricky Business is a wine operation based in Perth but sourcing fruit from around the country, notably Great Southern, Margaret River and King Valley. This is not their only rosé. A lovely pale orange note, this has a soft texture, is slightly broad and offers lots of flavours. Some red berries, cherries, even a slight citrus note. Behind this, a hint of dried meats. An attractive style. 88 points.

West Cape Howe Tempranillo Rose 2017

13% $17

A style of rosé which focuses on the delicacy that the style can offer. The fruit is sourced from the Frankland region and also the Perth Hills. A vibrant near-neon red. Juicy florals and red fruits. An upfront style which doesn’t really exhibit any great length, but is easy and enjoyable drinking. 89 points.

3 Drops Great Southern Nebbiolo Rose 

12.5% $24

Winemaker Rob Diletti is one of the rising stars of the West, though he manages to keep himself well under the radar – take a good look at anything he makes for 3 Drops and the family winery, Castle Rock Estate and you will be more than amply rewarded. This is a stunning rosé from the Great Southern, though curiously the information suggests it is 75% Shiraz (only 25% Nebb), despite the moniker on the label. Whatever the actual grape blend, it is delicious. Pale pink/orange, this is a refined and elegant style. Clean, fresh and juicy. Florals and a slight meaty note. Good balance and intensity. 92 points.

Howard Park Margaret River Miamup Rose 2017

13% $28

Our final two West Aussie rosés are from the same stable. Burch Family Wines have gone big on rosé, with a sparkling rosé from the Jete collection and three more under various other “parents”. This Margaret River example, from the Miamup banner, blends 55% Shiraz from the sub-region of Wilyabrup and 45% Pinot Noir from Karridale. It is the first rosé under the Howard Park label. A gentle pink/bronze. Spices, elegance, balance and good intensity. Excellent length and good underlying acidity. Red fruits, notes of strawberry and cherry. For a first effort, bravo! 93 points.

Marchand & Burch Villages Rose 2017

13% $25

Pascal Marchand has been consulting on the M&B wines for more than a decade. This is the second rosé under this label, made by chief winemaker Janice McDonald, from an almost even split of Shiraz and Pinot Noir. The majority of the fruit comes from the Great Southern region with a small contribution from Margaret River. The aim is an Aussie rosé in a French style. Pale, with dry herbs, forest floor notes, spices and red fruits. Good length and a pleasing flick of bitterness on the finish. 92 points.

2016 vintage pictured

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