Rosé doesn’t have to look like it’s just come out of a paint catalogue selling various hues of pale pink, ergo this post on what I deem to be one of the finest rosés in the world.
Indeed; that word, “rosé”. What do we even mean by that? Isn’t it a shame that our market has become dominated by almost only “pale, shimmering rosés that bring you back to your time holidaying on the Côte d'Azur”? Pur-lease. What’s worse, there is a whole generation of drinkers who don’t believe in darker shades of rosé because they assume the wines will be sweet (bad White Zinfandel is predominantly to blame for this).
The rosé segment, or should I say, the direct press red segment, has so much more to offer than “nice” pale rosé the colour of “pretty petals with a hint of salmon.” Yes, these wines serve a purpose and are enjoyed, and granted, you don’t have to think about those wines as much, but the segment also has wines that are capable of much thought and deep contemplation. Wines of intellect, of wonder, that surpass vinous segmentations. Wines that are able to speak of a place, exactly as this one does; the Burgenland.
I first tasted this wine with its makers; Eduard Tscheppe and Stephanie Tscheppe Eselbock, in their wonderful home in the depths of the Burgenland. Not only does this family make wonderful wine, they are incredibly kind, welcoming and full of love for life. We drank it at dinner and it made me stop eating and marvel at the contents of the glass for many, many moments. I had never tasted anything like it, and the colour of its contents radiated from within the glass. The wine was alive, and it was definitely speaking.
30-year-old vines; Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch, Roesler from limestone, slate and gravel. Hand harvested, destemmed, direct press with a couple of hours on skins. Fermentation in 500, 1,000 and 1,500L barrels. Aged in 500L barrels for eight months. Bottled unfined, unfiltered, with no sulphur addition.
Imagine picking cranberries from a cranberry bush, rolling them around in a bowl of fresh earth, thyme, rosemary and white pepper, blowing off the remnants into the cool summer air, crushing some raspberries with your forefingers to attain the juice only, gently breaking the cranberrys’ skins with your teeth, enjoying the fresh rush of acidity that comes with it and licking the raspberry juice from your fingers. That’s how this wine tastes.
It is the tale of a difficult vintage, but one of eternal optimism where two vineyards become one through the mergence of the Winifred and Josephine cuvees (nearly all of Josephine was lost due to frosts and hailstorms).
It is a reminder that in life, we can be optimistic or pessimistic, but that the best results are born from optimism, hope and determination.