A Sommelier’s Honest Review Of Kylie Minogue’s Rosé: “It Tastes Like Being 16”
"Like pashing someone at a school dance...And it leaves that same feeling in your mouth, like I've just had a kiss that I might regret - but in a sexy way."
It’s a risky move to release a rosé when you have a song called ‘Fine’ right there, ready to be referenced.
Then again, there’s also ‘Wow’, ‘Drunk’, ‘Love’, ‘Golden’, ‘The One’, ‘Obsession’ and ‘Koocachoo’, which isn’t really relevant here, but is worth pointing out. All and none of these words describe Kylie Minogue’s signature rosé, which, after being released in May in the UK, is finally available in Australian stores.
Minogue was recently on Jesse Ware’s Table Manners podcast for a feast, which was the perfect opportunity to spruik her latest wine: a Côtes de Provence rosé, which, for the record, she says can be drunk with an ice cube, something she might have picked up playing Epponnee-Raelene Kathleen Darlene Charlene Craig on Kath & Kim.
Just like the first ladies of Fountain Lakes, Minogue is also a fan of abbreviations: at home, she calls it the ‘CDP’, and while she’s not a weeknight drinker usually, she and partner Paul Solomons have been known to ask each other if they should crack into the KM CDP.
But there’s a snag here: what we’re drinking in Australia — or what we’re posing with for Instagram stories — isn’t the luxury KM CDP.
We’re actually a little late to the game, which has caused some confusion. The signature vin de France KM that’s just arrived in Australia is what she launched in the UK back in May, and was sold exclusively at Tesco’s for £9.90 — just in time for ex-pats, LGBTIQ+ people and those of taste (not mutually exclusive) to have handy across the park-drinking season. And now, as Spring has sprung and Melbourne’s lockdowns recede, Australia enters the day-drinking season armed with the KM (priced between $21-$30, depending on sellers).
To test it out, I tried the wine in a variety of summer situations — and sought out the knowledge of DRNKS’s resident “wine lady”, sommelier Ella Stening.
Love At First Sight? Well, Kind Of
My first sip of Kylie’s signature rosé comes at Friday night around 9.30pm, given a glass as an initiation at a friend’s house filled with fellow gay men. I was late: I must join the coven, and drink KM, as everyone had.
The excitement was palpable, even though everyone had warned me it was more ‘Fine’ than ‘Wow’. Into a faux crystal glass it went, as pink as the water found in tip jars at bars — or, more helpfully a pale pink usually found across Instagram infographics, as graphic designers try to make the Beirut blast more share-friendly. This is a wine that’ll look good on your grid.
I was late: I must join the coven, and drink KM, as everyone had.
But once you’re done posing, it’s time to soak up the smells. According to the official tasting notes, the vin de France offers “delicate, alluring aromas of fresh summer berries and white blossom”. Stening disagrees. “It smells like those — you know in Allen’s Party Mix, the peaches and cream,” she says. “Real saccharine.”
And the taste? As per the official tasting notes, the Kylie signature rosé is “refined and refreshing on the palate with a fruity, crisp finish”, which is a nice way to say that it tastes like cheap rosé. It’s not bad, not great: that ‘crisp’ finish might wrinkle your face if you’re not a fan of a tart aftertaste, and one friend described it as a distinctly “bin juice” aftertaste. After her first taste, Stenning immediately says she gets what he means.
“But it’s totally pleasant!” she says. “It’s uh, a, lot better than I thought it’d be, to be completely honest. Far out… It just tastes like classic Provence, AIX region rosé — where all this sort of rosé is made.”
“[Even] the bottle looks like a rosé you would get from the south of France, totally innocuous and fine. I would say it sits in that middle zone. It’s certainly not fantastic — I feel like I’d be sick if I drank a lot of it, but it’s exactly what people expect what rosé to be. Which is kind of unfortunate, cause pink wine can be so complex and textual and sexy, but so much of it looks like this… But you know, people like drinking that and why stop them?! Every drink has a context.”
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We agree that it’s probably mostly a park wine. It’s fruity, full of flavour and will give you enough of a sugar rush that you’ll suddenly find yourself gorging on the cheese platter, though Stening says it’d get a bit ‘feral’ if it was left to warm in the sun. Which leads us to Stening’s other main tasting note.
“It tastes really pash-y,” she says. “It tastes like being 16 and pashing someone at a school dance…like lip-smackers. And it leaves that same feeling in your mouth, like I’ve just had a kiss that I might regret — but in a sexy way.”
But if you were to step outside the school dance and to a dinner party, Stening says she’d pair it with seafood — salmon, a Niçoise salad, a ‘shitty shrimp cocktail with red sauce’ — or, if you’re vegetarian, some marinated artichokes or a light cucumber salad dressed with a red vinaigrette to match the ‘bin juice’ vinegar. Sounds divine!
“It tastes like being 16 and pashing someone at a school dance… like lip-smackers.”
In terms of celebrity wines, Stening says it comes off pretty well.
“This is certainly the most reflective of the celebrity that I’ve seen,” she says. “It’s totally pleasant and it’s not trying to be anything that it isn’t — the best thing about it is it’s not trying to like sell any message. So many celebrities are just trying to like push, like I dunno, a brand and an idea out with the wine. This is just [rosé].”
Vin de Kylie
There’s nothing wrong with a cheap plonk (again, perhaps something she learnt from Kath & Kim), and as a pop star, Minogue has made music for the masses for over thirty years. It’s on-brand to keep things accessible — Minogue’s successes and hits as a musician are so wide-spread that her oeuvre is almost unassuming, certainly underrated.
At the risk of sounding like someone who has drunk too much Kylie rosé because they love her so much, Minogue’s best music is a sugar rush of optimism, hope and invitation.
The gentle warmth of her music is lead by her voice, which, since Light Years, is usually submerged in disco-synths or sitting just above a beat. Minogue isn’t a belter — if anything, she’s the opposite, a voice which whispers or intones itself as if she’s melting into the music itself, a temporality usually reserved for an amyl high.
And her best post Light Year songs — ‘Slow’, ‘All The Lovers’, ‘Come Into My World’, ‘I Believe In You’, ‘The One’, ‘I Was Gonna Cancel’, et al! — are about submission, devotion and openness. God, Golden single ‘Dancing’ was about embracing death (“when I go out I wanna go out dancin'”), and her lead singles from Disco, ‘Say Something’ and ‘Magic’, are celestial synth-yearnings for love.
But Kylie’s pop platitudes can be profound, thanks to her delivery. They are deep feelings expressed with the lightest touch: a deftness that has seen her music and artistry overlooked, time and time again, as Minogue is continually the pop princess to the queens (Janet Jackson, Madonna, Mariah Carey).
In this sense, the signature rosé makes perfect sense. It’s light, unassuming and built to make you happy, a dumb excuse to drink with a friend and feel festive. While we wait for the CDP, it’s a giddy rush.
Jared Richards is a staff writer at Music Junkee, and freelance writer who has written for The Big Issue, The Guardian and more. He’s on Twitter.
All this week, Music Junkee is exploring the music of Kylie Minogue. See more Kylie stories over here.