The start of the summer statutory holidays signalled the start of a few days away so I packed a bevy of rosés to share – after all everyone loves a chilled rosé in summer in my small circle of relatives and friends. In fact Rosé has become so trendy the supermarkets are devoting entire shelves to pink wines and have positioned them at eye level for easy detection as well as a good selection ready to go in the refrigerator section. And some of the wines are fabulous. It’s because winemakers are now making rosé intentionally – of course some always have but there were wines labelled rosé made as a sweetened afterthought when the red wine crop went wrong and those concoctions didn’t endear wine drinkers to buy again. Many wine companies are also diversifying their vineyard sources to make the most drinkable wines – and Giesen is among those that are.
Years ago when I first got into wine, last century sometime in fact, Giesen was synonymous with Canterbury with their vineyard and cellar door south of Christchurch on Burnham School Road. Giesen eventually started using Marlborough grapes – the premium source for sauvignon blanc of course, but also for delightful chardonnays and pinot noir. Eventually they sacrificed the Burnham School Road property and this, along with historic riesling vines, is now the home of Lone Goat.
Giesen quickly forged a reputation with Marlborough grapes and the cellar door, opened just over five years ago at 26 Rapaura Road, has cemented their place. So at first I was surprised to see a Hawkes Bay wine from Giesen, but then it made sense. The top wine companies are sourcing grapes from regions they consider best for the varietal and when it comes to merlot, Hawkes Bay is where you go.
Giesen Hawkes Bay Merlot Rosé 2016 is an attractive luminous strawberry pink. Red fruits fill the fresh, lively bouquet. The taste reminds me of early season plums with a hint of cherry and a zing of spice. Just off dry and very appealing, I would buy again. We matched to a salmon-based dippy thing as an aperitif.
Giesen’s merlot grapes were sourced from two blocks on Maraekakaho Road in the Bridge Pa region and the winemakers are the very talented Nikolai St George (lucky Giesen) and Martin Bell. RRP is $19.99 and alcohol clocks in at 13%. Find out more from giesen.co.nz. You’ll also find recipes for quenching iced beverages they call ‘Frosé‘.