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Wine of the Week for week ending 27 November 2011
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Abbey Cellars Blushing Monk Rose 2011
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

I'm immensely fascinated by the colour of wine. Not only the hue, the transparency and lustre too. Colour is where I find minerals in my wines.
White wines take on transparent hues that can be as subtle as a yellow diamond or as deep as golden beryl or heliodor. The lustre can be glassy (vitreous) and gem-like (adamantine) or a little oily and pearlescent.
Red wines are not usually see-through except on the edges. They have a translucency that lets the light through but with some of the blockbusters unless the glass is held to a light source they seem totally opaque. Rubies and red garnets are the most common gemstones here.
And the Rosés, what a gorgeous array of transparent pinks and reds, from the palest pink fluorite to the deepest red tourmaline.

The colour of a Rosé can also be an indication to its make-up. The lighter the colour, the more likely it is to be made from Pinot Noir, a deeper red colour is a clue that it's made from merlot, malbec or syrah.

Line up a selection of Rosés up in a table and you'll see a gorgeous array of transparent pinks and reds that can be compared to the palest pink fluorite to the deepest red tourmaline.

The colour of the Abbey Cellars Blushing Monk Rosé 2011 fascinates me. It's the richest in a line-up on the table and with the light behind it, it looks like high quality red rubellite tourmaline but with the wall behind it, the colour is more ruby. It's in the darker spectrum because it is a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Merlot.

This is one sensational Rosé and no wonder the monk is blushing because it's such a feel good wine.

The aroma evokes memories of late summer, stopping to pick blackberries on the side of a country road, a little dusty perhaps, the sun on the brambly bushes, the blackberries warm and juicy. There's a floral intrigue to the scent as well, like the blackberry flowers at the end of spring. The taste of this rather seriously-styled Rosé builds in intensity in the palate, Earthy, savoury, spicy and soft with a creamy backbone and blackberry and raspberry fruit rippling through it, it's long and full with the dry finish balanced by the vinous sweetness.

A wine that must be chilled – it's Rosé and Rosé was made to be drunk cold – so ensure it goes into the refrigerator at least an hour before drinking, then keep it cool on the table in an ice bucket or some other fancy keep-wine-cool container.

Made by winemaker Amelia Rewai from the company's single estate vineyard in Bridge Pa, the grapes selected for this wine were 'first pick' from the merlot and malbec vines. No oak was used. Alcohol is just 12.5% and the bottle has a screwcap. Price is around $18 - $20. Check out for more.

We found this wine sensational simply matched to a green leafy salad with cherry tomatoes and lashings of the 'best' creamy mayonnaise.

I hope to be visiting Hawkes Bay in February. As I haven't been there before, Abbey Cellars is a 'must do' on my winery visit list as I pass through Hawkes Bay on my way from somewhere to elsewhere. I've already put 1769 Maraekakaho Rd at Bridge Pa, Hastings, into my GPS.

© Sue Courtney
22 November 2011

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