2017 Marisco Vineyards “The King’s Desire” Pinot Noir Rosé, Marlborough, New Zealand (Alcohol 12.5% – Residual Sugar 2g/L) LCBO Vintages $19.95 (750ml bottle)
Despite this wine being 100% Pinot Noir, there’s something within this bottle that channels the spirit of Languedoc White Grenache rosé, a style I have known to be quite partial too. Whether that is a deliberate move on behalf of the winemaker or not is another matter, but it certainly works for me.
Initially I found the wine’s name to be a touch cheesy, so it sat in my fridge for a few days getting extremely cold before I decided to finally give it a taste. It was one of those oppressively steamy Toronto summer evenings where nothing but chilled, crisp rosé will do the job, so I poured myself a large glass and sat in our backyard listening to CBC, purposely wallowing in the heavy, sticky heat of the city… despite being from Scotland, hotter temperatures don’t really phase me. Strange that.
Sourced from The Slopes and Leefield Station vineyards in the southern valleys of Marlborough; the Slopes grapes are machine harvested and fully destemmed before a gentle crush/pressing, whilst the fruit from Leefield Station is hand harvested and whole-bunch pressed. The resulting juice is split between both stainless steel tanks and 500 litre French oak barrels (puncheons) and fermented using cultured yeast strains. After a short period of lees contact the two component lots are blended to tank and given time to integrate before bottling.
The wine pours a pretty pale watery watermelon hue in the glass and has an attractive contemporary nose of bright and super-ripe raspberries and strawberries with rose petals. Despite the fruit-driven nose, the bone-dry palate is all about tarter, under-ripe raspberries and strawberries, a delicious juxtaposition with the sweeter nose, and this is all accompanied by a little tannic edge and an intriguing touch of the saline.
Although I’m all for “gastronomic” rosés, The King’s Desire drinks just fine all by itself thank-you-very-much. A delicious quaffing rosé for what’s left of the sticky summer.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And that’s a rather pretty and pleasant tipple.