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.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
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

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas