A few weeks back I heard language expert Max Cryer talking on the radio in his Curious Questions segment about the origin of the word Rosť. He talked about it in relation to wine and I quickly made notes on a scrap of paper. But now, when I want to use those notes, where's that scrap of paper? Heaven knows because I don't.
I want the notes because when the sun came out the other day, when spring showed it true colours, when the longed for warm weather that we expect in spring finally arrived, a chilled glass of Rosť was the perfect tipple.
Actually I tried several, as one does, when one is reviewing wines and I was very impressed with the batch because it seems that winemakers here have finally got the message. It seems that Rosť is no longer an 'afterthought', a way to dispose of some inferior grapes. It's a respectable drink in its own right.
My tastings of Rosť started off well this season with Auntsfield Pretty Horses Roses 2007, which I mentioned earlier last month
in my blog (Oct 10th) and again last week in my Wine of the Week reviews of Auntsfield Pinot Noir.
Then came along the Richmond Plains Blanc de Noir 2007 ($19.95) from Nelson. The palest of pinks with a candy floss lightness, there's strawberry, cherry and rose petals on the nose and it's juicy to the taste with abundant strawberry and raspberry sweetness, a sherbet zestiness and a touch of creamy vinosity that adds richness and texture. Clean, bright, fresh and breezy with a long juicy finish, it's made from 100% Pinot Noir. I loved this off dry wine that's sealed with a screwcap and what's even better, it's organic.
Another wine to impress was the Gibbston Valley Central Otago Blanc de Pinot Noir 2006 ($25). It's strawberry red in colour with cherry, plum and candy floss on the nose and dry, spicy, zesty flavours that are full of citrus and strawberry with a suggestion of dried herbs that add savouriness to the finish. It's round and rich with a lightly creamy texture and although a year on from vintage, it's still vibrant and fruit crunchy with a vinous punch. Made from 100% Pinot Noir, the screwcap closure is keeping this wine fresh.
But what surprised me about the above two wines was the gutsy alcohol content. 14.5% on the bottle of the Richmond Plains, and 14.8% on the Gibbston Valley bottle. A couple of glasses at lunch, and there'll be no work done in the afternoon.
Richmond Plains Blanc de Noir 2007 almost made my Wine of the Week, but it was pipped at the post by a late arrival.
It's the Fromm La Strada Rosť 2007 from Marlborough. There's an amazing textural richness in this almost bone dry wine that has the prettiest pink, watermelon hue. It's sweetly perfumed, like a bowl of fresh strawberries sprinkled with icing sugar, and tastes like strawberries too - strawberries with a little bit of spice and a faint herbal nuance. A touch of viscosity adds richness to the mouthfeel and a touch of acidity on the finish adds a zesty brightness. It's perfectly poised, an absolutely delightful wine. What's more, it tastes good when chilled and it tastes good when warmed up to room temperature too. Mind you, when I retasted the wine the following day, the room temperature was not exactly summer-like.
Fromm La Strada Rosť 2007 must surely be predominantly pinot noir. The grape varieties are not mentioned, but it certainly tastes like the Holy Grail grape. But I wouldn't be surprised if there a splash of another variety, perhaps a splash of Fromm's famous Malbec or Syrah because something is adding a peppery spice note to the lingering aftertaste.
But I've now been told the wine is a pinot noir-free zone. It's actually a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet and Malbec.
Fromm La Strada Rosť 2007 has just 13% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a Diam super-critical cork closure. It's the cheapest too, at $16.90 a bottle and is distributed nationally by Eurowine. So expect to find it in discerning retailers and in the best restaurants in town.
Find out more from www.frommwineries.com.
So what about the origin of the word Rosť. I guess I'll have to do my own research. I do know, however, that Rosť is the French word for pink or pinkish and not to be confused with rose, the flower. The linguistic origin of rose (the flower) is Greek, a derivative of 'Rhodon', which means red.
Oh, as for the other Rosť's in the batch, check out my Pink Wines tasting notes page. They should be all there. Those in the recent tasting have even been given star ratings. It seems that's what people want.
© Sue Courtney
5 Nov 2007
Update Dec 2007: Wine details now on the Fromm Website. It's a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and
10% Malbec made in a bone dry but low acid style.