Tale of two rosés

When life tells you to slow the fuck down, it’s wise to listen. This year has been a lot like that. Two hand surgeries followed by a severely sprained ankle last week have left me sitting still. Very still. Is the foot fractured? Who can tell. Certainly not the radiologist, who struggled to get a glimpse of actual bone through the swelling but please put away the world’s smallest violins because life is good, despite these minor sedentary setbacks.

Two new rosés from Astrolabe winery in Marlborough are among a vast number of new wines launched onto the market this week.

Here’s the skinny.


2021 Astrolabe Comelybank Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé RRP $32

The price of this rosé is clearly next level but then, so too is the taste. A warm fast ferment provides this single vineyard pink wine with its dry, savoury flavours, moving the taste firmly away from a tutti fruity style into refreshing, savoury flavours of slivered almonds, dried cranberries and even an earthy note on its lingering, weighty finish.

It gains depth of flavour and body from being fermented on solids (yeast lees) and was fermented to total dryness, leaving the wine with no residual sugar. It’s a refreshing style for this very reason.

Comelybank Vineyard Rosé is a single vineyard wine made with grapes grown by Jeff and Vanessa Hammond in the Waihopai Valley.

It is 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Gris.


2021 Astrolabe Marlborough Rosé RRP $28

Minimal skin contact and a high portion of Pinot Gris (45%) give this wine its pale pink colour and flavours that are dry with candied strawberries and crisp red apples in a light bodied, refreshing rosé.

The remaining 55% of the blend is Pinot Noir.

This lively new pinkie is lighter bodied than its big sibling from the Comely Bank Vineyard. And this wine also comes from cooler vineyards; 87% of the grapes were grown in the mid Awatere Valley with the remaining 13% being grown on the Kekerengu Coast. Both vineyards are  south of Blenheim.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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