I don’t think I’ve ever had a bottle of Mourvèdre before – let alone in rosé form.
As far as I was aware, it was almost always a lesser constituent of the Rhône blends like Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Vacqueyras: but apparently it has a life of its own away from Syrah and Grenache, and indeed away from the austere climes of Southern France.
Waterkloof winemakers in South Africa are one of the (apparently) many to recognise the potential of this varietal in its natural state, and they source bunches (if not piles) of this late-ripening red grape from in and around the Stellenbosch region.
Mourvèdre is known to particularly suffer or benefit, depending on circumstances, from terroir – indeed, the name and delightful old illustration on the label of this particular bottle seem to hint at this – so perhaps that explains the unusually earthy smell of this rosé. (Unusually for a rosé, I mean: unusual but not unpleasant.)
Still, there’s the expected elements of sharp red fruits and a hint of citrus accompanying – even a faintly biscuity aroma, reminiscent of the last really good rosé I had (a Sancerre pinot noir).
Although almost bone-dry, particularly on the finish, this South African blush isn’t quite as extreme as the French one, and is probably likely to be palatable to a wider range of wine-drinkers.
Named for the marine-like evocative coral-pink of its colour, it’s managed to retain a fair amount of sweetness and softness in its redcurrant and strawberry flavours, but with a hint of white pepper just before the cleansing wave of citrus and cracker-dry, savoury simplicity of the finish.
It’s probably not the best introduction to the grape, in that it is bound to be pretty different in rosé form – indeed, I could well have thought this was a Pinot Noir after the last one I tried – but this is a very elegant and pleasing wine with a lot to appeal to fans of softer to medium reds, the driest of dry whites, and – obviously – anything on the lighter shade of the pink spectrum.
I bought this from J Wadsworth of St. Ives, Cambs; it was about £8.50 I think, and it’s worth at least a tenner in my book, so very good value indeed.