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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

Matua Rosé Is Perfect Any Time, With Many Foods

Matua Pinot Noir Rosé 2017, New Zealand

Cost: $11-13

It is always rosé time. I write about it more in spring and summer because that’s when most people start thinking about rosé. But you can find an occasion to drink it any time of year.

It would be great on a fall picnic in the mountains. It would be a good Thanksgiving wine. You could even enjoy a nice rosé with the appetizers for Christmas dinner.

Of course, at this time of year you can drink it any night.

I opened a bottle of Matua rosé on a night when everyone wanted something different for an entree. This versatile wine paired well with each dish and by itself as I warmed everything up.

It is a bright, crisp, refreshing wine full of summer fruit flavors. It is the kind of wine you might open when you want a glass of wine while cooling down after work, but you don’t know what kind of wine you want. Just twist off the cap, pour the wine and sip it while you think about the events of the day.

The Matua rosé is sort of a midway point between New Zealand’s two famous wines: pinot noir and sauvignon blanc.

Most people don’t think about New Zealand when looking for a rosé, but it is a natural offshoot of the great pinot noir they produce. And the sauvignon blanc for which the country has become famous tells you they know how to make refreshing warm weather wines.

I love the beautiful coral color of this wine, and the inviting aromas. With the first sip of the Matua rosé you get flavors of strawberries, peaches and mandarin oranges, with a hint of watermelon. It is crisp and dry, an elegant food wine.

The pinot noir grapes are all from the Marlborough region, picked in cool conditions and delicately bunch pressed at the winery. The juice is separated in small batches and inoculated with different yeasts. After fermentation and blending, some of the wine sits on the lees to add texture and complexity.

This is the second vintage of the rosé and it’s a winner. I also like their clever label, which lets you know when the wine is cool enough to drink. The call it Chill Check technology. When the wine gets to 45-46 degrees a snowflake and “Ta Moko” (the sacred tattoo of the native Maori) will darken and appear more prominently.

To bring out that effect, cool the wine in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes.

Winery: The brothers who founded Matua were among the pioneers in the New Zealand wine industry.

Bill and Ross Spence had worked in their father’s winery at a young age before and after school. Ross went on to study winemaking and viticulture and Bill studied viticulture. After graduation they wanted to have their own winery and revolutionize the New Zealand wine industry.

In 1966 they bought a block of land on Matua Road in Northwest Auckland, with the help of their mother and grandmother. They planted their first vines in 1969, the first sauvignon blanc vines in the country. They said they didn’t have any money so they rented an old shed where they made the wine.

They criss-crossed the country in search of vines, looking for new varietals. Some didn’t produce grapes or had diseases. But some showed real potential, such as semillon, cabernet franc, grey riesling and sauvignon blanc.

In 1974 they produced 400 bottles of sauvignon blanc, the first in New Zealand. Later in the ‘70s a new partnership allowed them to buy a big block of land in Waimauku, Auckland. They planted more vineyards and built a winery in a historic hunting lodge. Later the winery moved to Marlborough.

The brothers bought more land in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough in the 1980s and ‘90s. They also developed relationships with other growers there and in Gisborne, so they had a ready supply of premium grapes.

Beringer-Blass Wine Estates invested in Matua Wines in 2001, but the brothers stayed on. Ross retired in 2003 and Bill continued as general manager until 2009 when he became Matua brand ambassador.

New teal labels appeared in 2012, the same year Matua won New Zealand producer of the year. They have won many awards over the years.

Matua in Maori means the most senior one, the leader. The “Ta Moko” on the label is Matua’s own tattoo with meanings for each part. Their website at www.matua.co.nz has a delightful explanation of what each part means.

Matua also produces pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, merlot, chardonnay, pinot gris, and a range of single vineyard wines that include syrah, albariño, riesling, malbec and merlot/malbec.

Matua Rosé paired well with all of our meals.

Goes with: I had this with homemade chop suey, a dish I usually make in the winter. But this was another night I didn’t feel like cooking so we pulled things out of the freezer. I picked the frozen chop suey that I had made months ago.

It is so much fun to get a home cooked meal without having to do the cooking that night. That’s why I always make extra soup or stews, so I can save the leftovers for later.

Teri had a chicken pot pie and Michael and his girlfriend had fettucine alfredo.

The amazing thing is the Matua Rosé was a great match for each dish. The wine was hearty enough to stand up to the soy sauce and herbs in the chop suey but delicate enough not to overpower the pot pie. Michael said the wine had enough fruit to pair well with the creamy alfredo sauce.

The wine also would go well with a fresh salad of mango and chopped mint with pan-seared fish and a drizzle of lime juice.

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