Liinaa Berry wants you to know how versatile rosé can be. The 2KW wine director and sommelier is hosting a rooftop wine party to change perceptions of the oft-maligned drink.
“It can be a serious wine,” Berry told Broadsheet last year.
She should know. The Mauritian-born wine expert was mentored by Serge Dubs (World’s Best Sommelier 1989) and Andreas Larsson (World’s Best Sommelier 2007) and was one of 50 sommeliers from around the globe selected to take part in 2017’s Somms of the World junket, which coincided with the 50 Best Restaurant Awards in Melbourne. She also curated The Crafers Hotel’s collection of 2,000-odd bottles of wine before joining 2KW last year.
“Rosé can really vary from sweet, fruity [and] exotic to savoury and mineral-y,” she says. “It is easy to drink, pairs well with most food, and can be incredibly complex and even long-lived.”
As the name suggests, 15 Shades of Rosé will prove just how multifaceted the wine can be, with 15 cracking drops from Australia, France, Austria and Italy – paired with a Mediterranean feast by 2KW’s executive chef Trent Limn.
Here are five wines Berry suggests seeking out on the day:
Brash Higgins Nymph 2018, McLaren Vale
“This succulent rosé comes in a magnum, and the artwork on the label – by Sydney-based artist Martine Emdur – reflects the mood this wine gets you in: humans swimming like celestial creatures, freed from their earthly demands. Tasting notes don’t always have to be about what we taste, it can be about how we feel; the Nymph will cool you like hybrid tea rosewater. On the palate, there is the spice of ginger and dried cherries waving across the tongue towards a sour peach finish.”
Mazi Wines Limited Release 2018, McLaren Vale
“On a visual note, I was immediately attracted to the very pale colour: so light, almost like a whisper from a secret lover. The taste took me to Provence. Made from hand-picked mourvedre, there is a gorgeous subtleness about it that makes this too easy to drink. It’s very impressive to have this lightness in Aussie rosé, but still offer plenty in the mouth with raspberry compote, spice and musk. I would drink it lying in a hammock in a lavender field; it’s 26 degrees and I'd be reading Murakami.”
Ngeringa Rosé 2017, Adelaide Hills
“This medium-bodied rosé is made from the syrah grape, so expect something exotic here. It’s bitter orange like Campari, but with plenty of sweeter fruit profile to balance. It’s dark in colour but dry, and I would definitely drink this with food. It has structure, it’s brooding, the palate is super-silky and the spice is not shy. The flavour profile takes me straight to the delightful cuisine of Africa and, unsurprisingly, I am thinking about my home, Mauritius. Lunch with mum and the siblings on a Sunday, with spicy crab soup from fresh crabs that we picked the night before.”
Pittnauer Dogma Rosé 2015, Burgenland, Austria
“I love this slightly unusual rosé – it's the quirky kid in the classroom that once you get to know, you just can’t stop hanging out with. He’d take you to a secretive place next to a lake, with an epic selection of funk vinyl and a portable record-player. This rosé has had six hours of skin contact on blaufränkisch, with subtle spice of the St Laurent grape variety, dark cherry red, gentle structure and a vivid acidity that will animate you with surprise and pleasure. Biodynamic and no sulphur additions.”
Graci Etna Rosato 2017, Sicily, Italy
“One of my absolute go-to Italian rosés. This is 100 per cent nerello mascalese and hails from the northern slopes of Mount Etna. Grown in volcanic soils, the fruit extends the taste of the vineyard with a superb, bracing saline edge, rosehip and orange flowers. If this wine was a person, it would be the kind that doesn’t kiss on the first date. Full of contradiction: from the warm south, but from an elevated cool region, you’d expect strawberry fruit but what you get is minerals and savouriness. It’s an acquired taste. Refined and sophisticated. A wine that can be cellared too.”
15 Shades of Rosé is on Saturday February 23 from 1pm to 4pm. Tickets are available online. Dress code: pink and white.