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Given Michael Downer’s superstar status with red and white wines, it might be easy to overlook his charismatic Rosé. This year’s release takes in 50% Sangiovese from Forreston at about 360m above sea level. Downer notes that this clone is particularly well-suited for rosé thanks to its pale, fleshy and juicy personality. The balance of the release is made up of Merlot and a white miscellany to bring complexity and depth of flavour. All components are pressed straight off skins and, after 24 hours, sent to old barrique and foudre for wild fermentation. The wine is then kept on lees for a few months before bottling.
It opens with attractive aromas of fresh summer berries, watermelon rind and flesh, some sweet spice and a lovely savoury lees character playing in support. The palate is full of red-fruited juiciness and fleshy texture with a touch of grip, all neatly focussed by racy acidity and an enticing watermelon-drenched finish. A proper Rosé, this, and one with more character charm than all the anaemic Provençal lookalikes you could shake a stick at.
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