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Beyond raspberry: a rush of better rosés

Wine

Jericho has joined the blush flush with a delicious new Adelaide Hills rosé, reports Philip White.

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There’s an inventive resurgence of fine rosé underway in Oz this summer. Over the holiday, I saw impressive, thoughtfully-built wines from many who’ve moved on from the simple raspberry cordial sweeties often made from straight Grenache. Which is a waste of good Grenache. Unless you design a beauty like my landlord’s Yangarra, which was grown to be rosé, and made to maximise those many parts of Grenache which aren’t like raspberry cordial, ending up with a delightfully viscous dry whit-ish biodynamic wine made in big egg-shaped ceramic fermenters.

Paracombe released a beauty made from Tempranillo and Malbec, and of course that crusty old master Castagna came up with another exquisite Allegro, always made biodynamically from Shiraz. There’s your king.

Other memorables? Of the Grenache school, but venturing one textural step away from the lollypop stuff into drier adult territory, came Sevenhill Inigo, Pauletts and La Bise (with Tempranillo).

Changes in approach go further than testing new varieties, and the making methods are venturing well beyond the old squash ’em and leave ’em on skins overnight sort of thing. Even the rosé made from run-off removed to concentrate other, bigger reds is now joined by lovelies made with wild yeasts and barrels, and maybe the odd ceramic egg fermenter.

Given my prejudices, the Yangarra and Castagna wines are exemplary, but they’ve been joined by a new beauty at the front of the Casa Blanca fridge: Jericho Adelaide Hills Rosé 2017 ($27; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap), a fitting new addition to the popular Jericho suite. It’s a delicious blend of Pinot noir, Pinot gris and the rare Pinot meunier, which I suspect has given the wine much of its glorious feeling, as it does in champagnes like Krug.

First, there are no really overt cordial raspberries. I see insinuations of pale cherry, red currant, forest strawberry, pink grapefruit, blood orange, jackfruit – even a thought of passionfruit. Then there’s that dry reek of burlap superphosphate sack adding a grain of piquancy to the top note, just to ensure those nostrils are properly open. It’s a glorious sensual wallow: a long, long way past raspberries.

It even brings a hint of crème caramel.

And that texture’s everything I suspected it could be given its ingredients, especially that meunier. It has a certain viscous grace that’s slightly sneaky, which is an olfactory descriptor I don’t recall ever before using on a glass of wine. I mean solicitous, in a courtly sort of way. As if it needed any help getting into you.

It may seem obvious but smoked salmon is the gear. With those very tiny capers. Join the chaise.

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