Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rosemount Botanicals Sauvignon Blanc infused with lemon and elderflower (NV) (Retail)

Polonius: [Aside] “Though this be madness, yet there is method in't”.
(Hamlet Act 2, scene 2, 193–206)

What works on paper, has the tendency to ride on vapor
Fading into Obscurity – Sloan

Some concepts look great on paper and work perfectly in theory. Sometimes market research and focus groups can anticipate consumer trends, assisting a company/industry to make a tidy profit in the process. On other occasions all the planning, research, brainstorming and marketing spin can make no difference whatsoever to the end result (just ask the Federal Australian Labor Party).

According to the Group Managing Director of Rosemount, the Rosemount Botanicals range of white wines are ‘aimed at making wine more attractive to drinkers who previously avoided it and to wine drinkers who would not normally drink during the day’ (Link)

The Botanicals range consists of three white wines that are lightly carbonated and infused with different fruits and florals - Chardonnay with apple and cucumber; Pinot Grigio with blood orange and rosewater; and the subject of this review, Sauvignon Blanc with lemon and elderberry.

I must admit, I was intrigued to see if these wines tasted as bad as they sound (in my opinion at least). It would be hypocritical to criticise the Botanicals range and snigger from the sidelines without trying them.

The colour of the wine is almost clear – like a glass of carbonated water with a teaspoon of Bickfords lime cordial. It smells sickly sweet - lychee, gooseberry and florals. It tastes sickly, cloyingly sweet - simple, green pie apples, lychee, and sugared ripe honeydew melon flavours are followed by an unpleasant bitter lemon rind finish that not even the high residual sugar can mask. Finally, there is no pretence of structure, length or intensity. One glass was enough to get the idea, and that was a struggle.

Rosemount are promoting the Botanicals range as chic and new, the fruit and floral infusions enlivening the wine. The cynic in me would argue that no amount of spin or marketing can make this range anything more than an over-engineered 2010 version of West Coast Cooler in a pretty, Bombay Sapphire-inspired 750ml bottle. Unfortunately, stranger things have happened.

All in all, I would have to say that there is no method in the fruit and herb infused madness. Surely there are more effective ways of converting non-wine drinkers to the joys of wine – making wine and not fizzy wine cooler might be a start.


    RRP: $17.99


Andrew Graham said...

Good work! Superbly balanced review all things considered. A horrible abomination of a wine/RTD...

Brown said...

Thanks Andrew. Now that I have gone where (I hope) not many wine drinkers will tread, I can safely say this tastes as bad as it sounds and the concept is deeply flawed! Cannot see how it will convert anyone to the joys of wine, primarily as I would not consider this to be wine (#sigh).


Anonymous said...

I was one of those people who did not like wine at all - I couldn't stand it! But I tasted this and I found it very refreshing and loved it. Maybe you have to dislike other wines to like this one.

Brown said...

Hi Anonymous,

Each to their own with alcoholic beverages I say - wine snobs are annoying, and if you like this beverage, fair enough. My review did not affect your enjoyment of the Botannicals, and that is the way it should be - judge it by whether you enjoy it personally, not what people like me (or professional wine writers)say about it! :-)

HOWEVER,I have to say that personally, I would argue that this is an 'alcoholic cooler', not a wine per se, created in part by the wine glut and the (personally puzzling) preference for sugary Sauvignon Blanc in the market.

Therefore, it would be understandable to enjoy this drink if you do not enjoy wine (much like someone who hates beer might like alcoholic cider). Thie beverage is as close to being a wine as Darth Vader was to being a human in Return of the Jedi: the botannicals is the wine equivalent to Darth - more (corporate marketing) machine than man (though even Darth Vader managed to restore balance to the Force just prior to his death, while I sadly believe the Botannicals range will only add salt to the wounds of the Australian wine industry - if the range lasts beyond this summer).

Still, taste is subjective, and if you like this beverage, good going. Each to their own.



Anonymous said...

I actually tried some yesterday with a couple of friends ( female and male) and we all gave it the thumbs up. I'm not a huge fan of White wine ( more of a Shiraz person) but I found this stuff refreshing, more-ish and a positive introduction into the world of sauvignon blanc

Brown said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for your comment. As noted in my previous comment to another anonymous fan of this wine (hmmm): taste is subjective, and if you and your mates liked this, to the point you would rather drink this than a nice Riesling, Chardonnay or Semillon, good stuff.

On a positive note, if you and your friends found it more-ish, I guess it will mean that at least some people will consume this Cooler (Good news for Rosemount at least). If you managed to identify clear varietal Sauv Blanc characteristics in this Cooler it might also lead you to purchase/drink some Australian Sauv Blanc such as Shaw and Smith or Whicher Ridge, which would be another posiive.


Lara said...

I just tried this at the Norwood Food and Wine festival yesterday and I too found it quite nice - but like the others, I am not a wine fan at all, nor am I a beer fan (ew) so it was nice to find something that I enjoyed

Ena said...

Obviously with all the negative comments this wine has gone off the market. I am a wine lover and enjoy good wine. I think Botanicals was excellent and wonder where it can still be found.

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