On Rosé

From the very inception of the Castagna Allegro in 1998, my driving force has always been to make a wine that is, in its own right, memorable. Rosé was at that time the neglected wine style but should have been, at the very least, the centre piece of Australian drinking during our summer months. Most of what was made, was made was made as an after-thought, a solution to a problem for red wine producers facing over-cropped fruit. And although it is gratifying to see the growing interest in Rosé as an appropriate style for the Australian table, it still remains, in general, a wine made to a formula that has at its foundation the belief that it is a simple wine best consumed early, served very cold and often supported by the addition of red table wine to give an incandescent colour whilst allowing a profound sweetness to remain to make it appealing. This style and approach to Rosé seemed to me to be defeatist – make it cheap, make it sweet and let it be the vinous equivalent of alcopops.

I say this not to criticize anyone’s Rosé but to simply point out that the Castagna Allegro has always been the opposite – I take it seriously, it’s a wine I like to drink: I give it the same attention I give to all my wines. Rosé can be a serious wine, as indeed are some of the famous wines from Bandol and Tavel to name just two regions that look at their Rosé from a different perspective. That is, to focus on the complexity and joy one can create from grapes grown for the explicit purpose of making a dry table wine Rosé. I continue to tinker in the vineyard and winery to unlock further complexity and intrigue that can be created with this most interesting of wines styles; it serves me no purpose to doctor my Rosé with red wine to give it a deeper hue; I need no residual sugar to create the illusion of texture and weight – I just leave it alone to mature in old French oak to allow it build texture and complexity in a natural environment.