Meet the winemaker

Making great rosé

By Halliday Promotion

16 Dec, 2021

We've pulled aside some of Australia's winemakers to deep dive into what makes a rosé delicious.

The following winemakers walk us through their processes for making a delicious bottle and how their processes change with each style of rosé. For instance, by using merlot grapes, rich berry flavours can arise whereas shiraz or pinot grapes tilt a rosé towards the savoury-style end. Either way, these winemakers believe this fun wine can find a place at any table and on any occasion.

Medhurst Simon Steele

Simon Steele – Medhurst

HHow do you approach the winemaking process? 
S: This single vineyard rosé is made from our vineyard in a very thoughtful manner. It is a blend of cabernet sauvignon (55%) and three blocks of shiraz (45%). The grapes are hand harvested and placed in bins directly to the cool room. This overnight chilling is paramount to the inherent purity and freshness of the finished wine. Whole bunch pressing and some fermentation in old French oak are some of the other important parts of the production.

H: What is unique about your rosé and how it is made?
S: Our preferred style of rosé is wine that has great balance and intensity. It’s a given that great rosé is both dry and pale. However, beyond these basic attributes, a rosé should also be full of great flavour, some complexity and great drinkability.

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Mitchell Taylor

Mitchell Taylor – Taylor Made Wines

H: How is this style of wine best enjoyed?
M: Rosé doesn’t call for a grand occasion or formal setting – it’s at its best when sipped outdoors, on a warm summer's evening with friends with a delicious cheese platter, and chilled to its optimum drinking temperature.

H: How do you approach the winemaking process?  
We wanted to create an old-world Provence-style rosé with that refreshingly dry, delicate fruit and mineral characteristic while capturing the new-world power and elegance that comes from the fruit of our grower partners in the Adelaide Hills. Our winemaking process centres on retaining the flavour of the pinot noir – from picking the fruit in the cool of the night using special bins, to chilling and stabilising the wine to lock in the natural intensity and fruit purity during fermentation.

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jeremy wilson

Jeremy Wilson – Contentious Character

H: What do you love about this style?
J: I love that I can play around with the style of rosé depending on which grape we use. When we make it with merlot grapes, rich berry flavours will come through. When we make it with shiraz or pinot, the rosé tips more towards the savoury-style end. There is a rosé to suit every occasion!

H: What is unique about your rosé and how it is made?
J: We pay careful attention to picking the grapes at the right sugar level for the right flavour profile and getting them straight to the press once harvested. What’s especially unique about our 2021 Rosé is the use of shiraz grapes for a savoury style rosé, giving it delicate spicy overtures in addition to red berry, raspberry and strawberry flavours.


Brendan Hawker – Yering Station

H: What do you love about this style?
B: Travelling in the Cote de Provence brought to my attention their fabulous style of rosé. Pale pink in colour, with savoury and fruit elements in balance, and fresh dry palates. Delicious! I find this pairs much better with food too, from spicy Asian dishes to barbecue and summer salads.  

H: Has your winemaking processed evolved/changed in any way? If so, how? (And why?)
B: We’ve moved away from pinot noir as our rosé varietal and into these alternative Italians – nebbiolo and sangiovese. Dry and fresh has always been the goal for our rosés, but nebbiolo and sangiovese have helped to build a more complex and layered wine. It’s a more serious and complete wine too, not just simple fruited and perfumed.

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Natalie Bellbone

Natalie Fryar – Bellebonne Wines

H: How would you describe this style to someone who’s never tried it before?
N: Sparkling rosé made from pinot noir should be beauty in a glass – elegantly structured with the endless complexity and depth as well as bright strawberry fruit flavours for just downright deliciousness. This is particularly true for rosé sparkling from northern Tassie: they are rich with strawberries and cream and jump right out of the glass, while holding beautiful acidity to make the perfect bottle of sparkling.
H: What is unique about your product and how it is made?
N: Bellebonne Vintage wines are truly wines of a single vineyard. Made only from a small number of rows in the Pipers River region, I take only the smallest cut of the finest free run juice and only ten or twelve barrels of pinot noir. Each is treated as a single wine until blending and as such these wines are a powerful statement about an individual site and individual winemaker.

*This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with the featured wineries.