Samuel Muston: Rosé is increasingly popular - here's how to get the best from pink plonk


Jason Phillips can remember a time when he could scarcely give away tickets for the annual rosé party he throws at the restaurant he manages in central London. "When we started eight years ago, our customers would say to me, 'but Jason, rosé is not really a serious wine, is it?'" Last Tuesday, Franco's St James's held the party to launch this year's 65-strong rosé list – it attracted 250 paying guests.

If proof were needed of the inexorable rise of rosé, then here it is, spilling out on to the streets of central London. Still, despite its increased popularity (Selfridges reports a rise in sales of 58 per cent from 2012-13 across all stores) and its inclusion in the ONS's inflation indicator, the basket of goods, a certain snobbishness still attaches itself to the wine. So much so, in fact, that a sommelier I know calls it "a marketing opportunity in a glass".

So, what is the truth of the matter? Certainly a decade or so ago, winemakers viewed rosé as a sideline. The drink – which is made using black-skinned grapes that have not been allowed to macerate with the juice as long as would be the case for red wine, or else made by combining red and white styles – was just a cash cow. Now, though, it's definitely come of age.

The question is, how to avoid ending up with a howlingly bad bottle? First thing to note is where it's from. A good, if not totally fool-proof, guide is to look at its place of origin. America and Italy, on the whole, prefer the sweeter "blush" styles; whereas the French tend to make a drier version.

If you are looking for something dry that will stand up to fatty, barbecued meat this weekend, plump for a Provençal rosé. Generally made from mourvèdre, grenache, carignan and cinsault grapes, this wine is more balanced. So go, try it, forget the "boozy Ribena" tag – and in style.

This week I've been eating...

My favourite restaurant, like my favourite song, changes with my mood. If I want clever, Michelin-y food, I might head to Simon Rogan's L'Enclume in Cumbria. If I want an opportunity to go rubbernecking, then the natural choice is London restaurant du jour Chiltern Street Firehouse. If, on the other hand, I am a bit drunk and fairly merry, there is only one place I crave: Clutch on London's Ravenscroft Street, a free-range chicken and cocktail joint which is so fun it might have been designed by Bacchus himself.

The concept – chicken fried in groundnut oil – may not be Earth-shattering, but the execution is so superb, so brimming with bonhomie, that I don't particularly care. The décor is all bold Cruella de Vil black and white stripes, the cocktails are strong – the zingy Chilli Chicklet kicks particularly high – and the chicken, with its just-the-right-thickness batter and steaming flesh, is a model of what can be done with a hen's leg and a fryer. A restaurant to wallow in.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor