Cuisine Wine

NZ Rosé 2016 Tasting results

12 December 2016 (Cuisine magazine Issue 180)

STRIKING A BALANCE. Kiwi rosé is on the up in terms of quality as well as quantity, but balance can be elusive, writes JOHN SAKER.

With 79 entries, this was one of the largest fields ever for a Cuisine rosé tasting. New Zealand wineries are making more of the pink drink because we’re consuming more – rosé’s popularity has been trending upwards for several years now, as it has been overseas. We’re also making it better. Eleven wines came through with four stars or more at this tasting, with three wines achieving the highest accolade of five stars.

“People are searching for different styles, and that’s exciting,” noted panel chair Ben Glover.

“But balance can be elusive. With rosé, achieving that summer afternoon freshness and drinkability is all important.” Helen Morrison said that while the top three rosés were all made in a dryer style, they were still a diverse trio.

“There was variation in the shades of fruit on offer and how each wine showcased that fruit. What they do share is they’re all great food wines.”


For this rosé tasting, our regular Cuisine tasting panel chair John Belsham was in Australia judging a wine show. Taking his place leading the panel was Ben Glover, an international wine judge, Chair of Pinot Noir NZ 2017 and owner-winemaker at Glover Family Vineyards.

Ben was joined by Helen Morrison, senior Marlborough winemaker at Villa Maria, and John Saker, author and Cuisine wine writer.

top NZ Rosé 2016

Two Rivers of Marlborough L’Ile de Beauté Rosé 2016

Pale salmon in colour and beautifully perfumed – rose petals and fresh strawberries come to mind – our top rosé, dry in style, impressed the panel with its lovely primary fruit and quiet authority. Crunchy acids provide tension, drive and length and a hint of leafiness adds complexity to the flavour profile. “It’s a good example of ‘less is more’”, said Ben Glover. “And the balance is bang on.” Helen Morrison felt a pomegranate, watermelon and feta salad would be a fine food match.

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Star ratings for this tasting

» How ratings work

  • Outstanding 3
  • Very Good 8
  • Good 21
  • No Award 47
  • Total Entries 79