More and more, I find an opportunity for deeper meaning shouting 'hello!' at me. As Friday of this week is International Rosé Day, I'm compelled to revisit the meanings we've embedded into our Margaret River 2018 Rose wine label. Positive psychology has been such a part of my Australian wine journey – whether I knew it or not!
The Rose of the Margaret River Rosé
So, there I am in London in 2018 and having a couple of meetings with Ali Cooper MW (here's bio on The Institute of Masters of Wine) and at the end of the day we went for a beer and he FaceTimed his daughter Rocio, who promptly showed Ali her sketch of the day.
"Maybe, Rocio, one day Charmaine will use one of your sketches on her labels," Ali said to Rocio. To which I replied: "Well, actually I am looking for a Rose for our upcoming Rosé label."
Next thing, Rocio showed me a rose to my disbelief and delight! It was exactly the rose I was looking for, for our label. We played around with layouts and many thanks to Melissa the designer from the label company Supa-stik, who thought of blowing the rose up for the front label. I wanted the entire rose sketch to be somewhere too, so we placed it in entirety on the back label. This where we also had words inspired by my mum. Dedicated to Mum – and for all who touch our lives – I wrote: "Thinking of you… With Love."
Say it with flowers
In doing the back labels all these years, you know, it’s like I’m evolving along with different marketers’ ideas. We've talked about promoting the vineyard, but I'm always trying to find a way that connects with our consumers the best on a personal level. For this particular label, I just knew what I wanted to bring to our consumers. I imagined it being a gift, as in the customer gifts it to their loved one, and what more would you need to say than the label's 'Thinking of you… With Love' to befit all occasions, happy and sad?
As always, we release wines when they are ready. But I was dead excited to release that vintage's Rosé ASAP and did so in 2019. On my birthday, I gave every friend I saw that day a bottle of our gorgeous delicate Margaret River 2018 Rose wine. Started with my meditation teacher, I still remember ranting away about the meaning and background to the label which I've shared here with you. And to top it off, I now handwrite a message on the label addressing each customer! The little things in life mean so much to me…
Back to our Rosé label. I got the winemaker to send samples of the wine to Melissa so she could match with the colour on the label. This label harnesses the foundation and template of the UMAMU label, but with a bit of extra fun. The wine industry is one tough nut to crack so exploring what Margaret River wines we can create is one of the joys of the industry for me.
Read more about the positive psychology behind our Australian wine labels.
A Margaret River Rosé
So why did we produce an Australian, Margaret River Rosé wine? Well, like I say, the wine industry is tough and we're always exploring ways to bring more to our consumers, so we wanted to make the best Rosé we could produce. (We did experimentation like this with our 2012 Margaret River Sparkling Chardonnay made in the traditional method, where I pushed the envelope to see how long we could have it on lees for. We did well; the fruit had the horsepower to reckon with a solid vintage Champagne.)
For me, it's hugely important to do the best we can with whatever we have on hand. So for our Rosé wine, we opted for our Cabernet Franc grapes – which you can taste in our 2015 Margaret River Cabernet Franc – and to be honest it did make the most amazing Rosé but boy did it cost us an absolute arm and leg to produce as it turned out! The parcel is only tiny – 0.4 hectares – which means cost of labour is higher.
Anyway, the Margaret River Cabernet Franc grapes made up 82% of the blend and the remainder with Merlot. (You can view our 2017 Margaret River Cabernet Merlot, which won a Margaret River Wine Show gold medal, in this hyperlink). We approached the growing season by having an open canopy so the fruit received gentle dappled light, which assisted with the growth of supple tannins and fragrant berry perfumes. We were blessed with an ideal ripening season in 2018. The fruit was cold crushed to press, and cold settled before a 12°c ferment in barrel for 20 days. Aged in two year old French barrels on lees for four months before bottling. We opted for second year oak to preserve the delicacy – first year oak would have been overpowering.
We definitely produced the best homegrown Rosé wine we could, and I am so in love with this beautiful delicate drop with solid structure, internally in terms of how the wine tastes and externally in terms of how we present the 2018 Rose vintage to the world. My brief to the winemaker back in 2004 was to produce elegant wines in respect of the terroir the vineyard rests on – the Margaret River wine region is famous for having a Mediterranean-style climate very similar to that of Bordeaux in France.
I really hope you receive as much joy with this wine that we have in producing it and bringing it to you.
The wine drinks beautifully on its own, it is the epitome of delicate characterful elegance and also pairs well with simply prepared tasty foods like sashimi crudo and parma ham, like a chiffon dress draped over a strong woman. We spectrum this in medium weight on our food wine pairing chart – see about it here.
PS - I still remember the first bottle of SSB05 I gave my dear friend Lyn, she immediately asked me to sign the front label. Oh I wish I had thought to take a photo of that bottle… she kept the bottle post-drinking in the cabinet but, to her fury, her maid threw it out! Well I have a quick fix to that, I need to sign a bottle of Rose for her!!