If you have spent any time in the hipster bars and cafés of Wellington recently, you will no doubt have come to the same conclusion I have: Wellington is fast approaching ‘peak beard’. Although beards are now prolific on both sides of the counter, I seriously doubt you can find a male behind any bar in Wellington who will mix your cocktail/pour your craft beer/make your latte, without sporting a grand bristly statement of masculinity about his face.
One less obvious trend is the proliferation of rosés on Wellington wine lists. Rosé has enjoyed a surge in interest from consumers in recent years and winemakers have scrambled to meet demand. One local restaurant witnessing huge interest is Havana Bar. Potti Wagstaff, Havana Bar owner and local hospo personality, is seeing so much interest in the wine that he is launching a ‘Summer of Rosé’ promotion to highlight different rosés through the warmer months.
“We are seeing customers start to look for something a bit more than what Sauvignon Blanc has to offer — a bit more sweetness and roundness,” he says. “We have also seen winemakers lift their game with rosé, producing drier styles that can be matched well with food.”
Rosé has had a poor reputation in the past as a bit of a girls’-day-out drink, a sweet wine not deserving of serious scrutiny. I asked Potti if that was the case at Havana Bar, and he advised me that he was seeing all types embracing rosé, from “corporate suits through to urban hipsters”.
So if you’re a manly man with the facial hair to prove it and you haven’t evolved to rosé, then now is the time. This is going to be a summer of rosé. Put down your craft beer (tastes like beer, only stronger) and pour yourself a glass of blissful, lively, refreshing rosé.
Here are four of the best 2014 rosés — if these don’t turn you to the pink side, nothing will!
Brightwater Vineyard ‘Sophie’s Kiss’ 2014 Nelson Rosé
Wonderful aromas of rose petals and summer berries. This is a stunning rosé already picking up major awards, including Pure Gold at Bragato this year. Fermenting in oak — not typical for rosé — gives this wine beautiful balance with just a hint of sweetness.
$20, Centre City Wines & Spirits, winesale.co.nz
On the wine list: Jackson Street Bistro, Crafters and Co., Duck Creek
Margrain 2014 Martinborough Pinot Rosé
One of the absolute stars of the Margrain line-up, with a legion of fans already. Made from 100 percent Pinot Noir, this deliciously delicate style has just enough acid to balance the sweetness.
$22, Wineseeker, New World Thorndon, Super Liquor Lower Hutt
On the wine list at: Petone Beach Café, Thunderbirds, Crafters & Co., Ministry of Food
Alexander ‘Raumati’ 2014 Martinborough Pinot Rosé
This is the first rosé produced by Alexander and is an instant classic. Raspberries, redcurrant and summer fruit fill the glass, and the finish is crisp and very refreshing.
$25, Centre City Wines & Spirits, winesale.co.nz, Raumati South Foodmarket
On the wine list: The Grand, Crafters & Co., Seasons Waikanae
Whitehaven 2014 Marlborough Rosé
Whitehaven have doubled production of their 2014 rosé to meet demand from the restaurant trade for a drier European style that matches well with food. This is very light salmon in colour, with fresh strawberries and cherries on the nose and a lovely creamy complexity. Delicious!
$20, Moore Wilson’s, winesale.co.nz.
On the wine list: Crafters and Co., Juniper, Atlanta, Bin 44, Two Souls