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 & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
The food fad that's starving Bolivia
Gay marriage, one year on: Couples mark first anniversary of same-sex marriages
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 3 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
- 4 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: I have depression. That doesn't make me a psychopath
iJobs Food & Drink
£24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...