A new French-South Africa wine venture focussing exclusively on the making of classic rosé wines on the slopes of Stellenbosch’s renowned Helderberg wine region was launched this week with the first vintage of Pink Valley Rosé 2019. The Pink Valley property incorporates nine hectares of vines, the Pink Valley Restaurant and a winery, the only in South Africa built and used exclusively for the making of rosé wines.
Pink Valley is owned by Oddo Vins & Domaines, a French wine company belonging to father and daughter Pascal and Lorraine Oddo, with wine ventures in Provence and Sancerre (France), Rioja in Spain and in Sicily. In investing in Pink Valley, the Oddos partnered with their compatriot and wine investor Bertrand Otto, whose knowledge of the global wine industry and special love of the Cape winelands encouraged them to invest in South Africa.
According to Schalk-Willem Joubert, managing director and winemaker at Pink Valley, the Provençal roots of the Oddo family drove them to the Cape with the view of owning vineyards and making classic rosé wines in a country they deem to be one of the world’s leading wine-producing nations.
“At the heart of the Pink Valley concept lies the continual growth in popularity in rosé wines world-wide and the Oddo family’s vision of making a unique style of rosé expressing the terroir through a wine they are familiar with,” says Joubert.
In France the Oddos make rosé in the Vallon des Glauges estate in the mountainous Alpilles region between Eyguières and Baux-de-Provence. According to Joubert, who has extensive experience on Vallon des Glauges in preparation for the making of rosé at Pink Valley, the aim is to elevate the profile of rosé as a premium quality wine style, as is the case in France.
“Both in colour and flavour profile, the objective is to through Pink Valley offer a rosé wine of classic style and top-end elegance, whilst maintaining rosé’s image as a fashionable, lifestyle wine,” he says. “Internationally rosé sales are maintaining an upward curve, and along with this there is growing recognition and acceptance of premium-priced, quality rosé wines.”
The first Pink Valley Rosé is made from the 2019 vintage and incorporates the grape varieties Grenache, Shiraz, Sangiovese and Cinsault. The wine was made in Pink Valley’s winery equipped for rosé production exclusively, with a capacity for 200 tons of harvested grapes.
“It is all about timing, as whatever rosé wants to be, you have to capture freshness,” says Joubert. Grapes were cooled to 4°C before destemming to minimize oxidation before being crushed into a pneumatic press with press cycle of 45 minutes, the amount of time the juice spends in contact with their red skins.
The juice spent five weeks in stainless steel, cooled to 2°C degrees to prevent fermentation. “This is where the classic onion skin colour is achieved,” says Joubert. “During this time the phenols settle at the bottom of the tank resulting in the light colour we want.”
The juice was then transferred to other tanks for fermentation, which lasted 23 days. The wine was racked off fermentation lees and kept on fine lees, with regular stirring for five months prior to bottling, the lees contact resulting in wine with viscosity and a supple mouthfeel and a modest alcohol level of 12%.
Pink Valley Rosé is complemented by the colourful artistry inspired by South African painter Walter Battiss (1906 to 1982), one of South Africa’s foremost abstract painters and known as the creator of the quirky “Fook Island” concept. His visual language insists on being both abstract and witty with a tendency towards caricature and cartoon encapsulates much of his work.
Pascal Oddo, owner of Oddo Vins & Domaines that began the Stellenbosch Pink Valley project 11 months ago, says that South Africa is becoming a sought-after destination for international wine companies.
“The country’s history in vini and viticulture, the spirit of innovation among the modern wine community and some of the most magnificent terroir-offerings anywhere in the world make South Africa one of the most attractive wine countries for French wine companies such as ourselves to invest in,” says Oddo. “With Pink Valley’s offering of a premier rosé wine as well as a restaurant set in the magnificent Helderberg region of Stellenbosch, we look forward to playing a role in the dynamic wine and wine hospitality sectors for which South Africa is truly world famous.”