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.

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
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

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes