Rosé life: INXS star Kirk Pengilly shares the tale behind his new line of wine

Musician Kirk Pengilly of INXS fame recently launched a new rosé wine, along with his wife Layne Beachley, the seven-time world champion surfing legend.

Kirk Pengilly Rosé was launched in 2021 after a love affair led to a love of the pink drink. Pengilly has teamed up with vigneron, Mike Duff, and award-winning wine marker Rob Mack, who won the prestigious Young Gun of Wine for 2018, to create his signature drop. Made with organic grenache and Mataro grapes grown in the McLaren Vale wine region of South Australia, expect qualities of red berries, Turkish delight, and cinnamon spice to ignite your palette. As the second vintage hits shelves, Pengilly tells V&T all the details of its inspiration and how a dinner party led to its inception. 

“Twenty years ago, I went on a blind date with Layne Beachley, which had been set up by our then-singer, Jon Stevens. Back then, I played in concerts worldwide with my band INXS and Layne was a world surf champion.

It was a horrendous first date. We were both completely opposite, at first thought. We just didn’t really have anything in common. I love the night-time, and she loves the daytime. She loves the ocean and big waves, and I love waterfalls and swimming holes. She loves red wine, and I prefer white wine. Then we found rosé, which met in the middle. We both fell in love and fell in love with rosé wine as well.”

WATCH: Kirk Pengilly talks to reporter Robyn Foyster

For the love of wine

“While we both love rosé, over all our years together, we’ve never found one that we both really loved. Nearly two decades later, I wanted to make a rosé that celebrated our marital bliss. When a few years ago, we were staying with friends near Byron, and the idea to make our own rosé came up, and that’s how KP Wine was born.

Together with Mike Duff and our wine-maker Rob Mack, who is based in McLaren Vale, we launched our first Kirk Pengilly Rosé in 2021. I designed the bottle, which features a caricature of my face.

The rosé is full of aromatics that come from Mataro grape

Bold and the beautiful

Our first vintage was produced during COVID. Layne and I had to sample the wine together via a zoom link. It had to be really good quality to be comfortable putting my name to it. And I believe we have achieved that.

It’s full of aromatics that come from the mataro grape. There are also hints of strawberries, blood orange and grapefruit, and spice. It’s pretty dry and quite a bold drop when you drink it. I wanted to make it bold because I had noticed a lot of women on a warm summer’s day will put ice cubes in their rosé. That kind of waters it down, so I wanted it to be quite bold so that if you added ice, the flavour would continue to linger.

Our plan is to keep KP Wine boutique. Last year we only produced 200 cases of our rosé, and this year we managed to make 320 cases. The rosé is available in restaurants that are predominantly in NSW, and you can only buy it by the case on our website:

We are really proud of our rosé, and I enjoy learning about wine-making. Coming from a background of rock stardom, my life has been about bringing happiness to people and entertaining them, and that’s what wine is about, too – it’s about bringing people together.”

Tasting notes

Variety: A blend of 85% grenache and 15% Mataro. Fresh vibrant fruit characters mingled with citrus and spice aromatics. Bright juicy red berry characters dance through the palate with bright acidity and subtle tannins for a good structure on sip.

Flavours: Aromatics of fresh flowers and just-ripe strawberries jump out of the glass. Blood orange, grapefruit, and cranberry characters mingle on the palate with fresh acidity keeping the wine lively and vibrant.

Goes with: Best with lightly spiced Thai-based seafood dishes, BBQ, and cheeses. Truly versatile to match with most dishes and is a perfect choice as an aperitif any time of the year.

As told to reporter Robyn Foyster.

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