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JOHN ROZENTALS ponders the clonal basis of the upsurge of sangiovese rosés.

February 10, 2018 Beverage No Comments Email Email

It seems that sangiovese has taken over as the prime source of rosé in Australia.

Just about every bottle of pink wine that has recently landed on my tasting bench seems to be made from this most ubiquitous of just about all Italian red grape varieties, whose name literally means “blood of Jupiter”.

It would be interesting to know what the clonal material behind this explosion is.

Grapevines are propagated from cuttings and different source materials show variations that are known as clones.

The ‘brunello’ and ‘piccolo’ sangiovese clones produce small, quite intensely flavoured and coloured berries, and I suspect that they go mainly into producing ‘normal’ red tablewines.

The ‘grosso’ clone, on the other hand, produces larger berries, which carry a lower skin — and hence pigment — to juice ratio and are therefor ideally suited for producing lighter-bodied wines such as rosé.

That’s certainly the case at Angullong, near Orange. It produces two completely different wines from sangiovese — a medium-bodied dry red from the ‘brunello’ and ‘piccolo’ clones, and a rosé from its plantings of the ‘grosso’ clone.

It would be interesting to know if my suspicions on clonal origin have any weight.


Lovers Not Toreadors 2015 Rosé ($25): There’s no hint of the varietal make-up of this wine, but I just couldn’t ignore the striking bull-fighting packaging of this vibrant Spaniard. The wine is good, too — lots of fresh berry flavours and a lashing of herbs. It’s an ideal match for many tapas-style dishes, especially those involving jamon or thinly sliced ham.

Freixenet NV Prosecco ($25): Another Spanish wine that in its flavour completely lives up to its stunning cut-glass packaging. Fruit flavours of tangy citrus and freshly cut green apples dominate here and I’d be having a glass as an aperitif before something more serious with dinner. Freixenet, by the way, is one of the world’s largest producers of sparkling wines.


Chapel Hill 2017 Sangiovese Rosé ($20): This racy, almost crunchy, style typifies the new seriously dry rosés emerging from Australia in recent years. Winemaker Michael Fragos has used sangiovese from McLaren Vale to fashion a delightful wine packed with the attractive fresh flavours of raspberries and cherries. It’s clean, it’s juicy, it’s yum.

Written by John Rozentals

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