Published 22 May 2022
When Kylie Minogue jumped on the rosé train, releasing her own wine a couple of years ago, it became the latest in a long line of celebrity rosé brands. Today, the pop star’s natty signature is in supermarkets everywhere – a little taste of the Loco-Motion for £9.
‘While dining outdoors one night, my manager Polly and I were drinking Whispering Angel to cool down from the heat, which got me thinking how great it would be to have my own rosé’, she told The Drinks Business magazine before a relatively chilled launch. Her pink prosecco became the number one brand in the UK last year after just ten months.
From Jon Bon Jovi to Drew Barrymore, with a bit of Sarah Jessica Parker and John Legend thrown in, demand for celeb-backed rosé remains undimmed. It is not the most ‘serious’ of wines in the vinous scheme of things, but there’s something undeniably thrilling about glasses of blush in the sunshine. The obsessive rule I stick to for home rosé drinking sees me dashing to the sunny spot in the garden: shade won’t cut it; I want the perfect rosé moment for every sip.
A few rosé brands have penetrated the consciousness of even the most casual drinkers. Whispering Angel – yes, whisper it if you like – is a genius piece of marketing. It’s a decent wine, made by Chateau d’Esclans in the heart of Provence, and encapsulates the essence of a classic, pale Provençal rosé in that it is seriously dry and delicate. To many, Whispering Angel is transportive; 750ml of St-Tropez to be enjoyed anywhere. The first vintage, in 2006, produced 130,000 bottles. By 2017, that number had eclipsed six million. It is the best-selling rosé in the USA. It’s also the Platinum Jubilee Pageant’s official rosé, don’t you know?
‘Hampton Water’ is the name of Bon Jovi and son Jesse’s wine, a collaboration with winemaker Gerard Bertrand that ‘captures the art of living and conviviality common in the Hamptons and the South of France’ – ‘ooh la la’, then, meets ‘livin’ on a prayer’. This is what is being bought into when the marketeers get on a roll with Provençal style rosés – a world of wealth, yachts and perma-tans. Such a lifestyle is a major appeal.
It’s also the seductive colour and style of these rosés that draw drinkers in – pale and ethereal, silky smooth, salmon-pink, bracingly dry and refreshing. A more gauche description, but a tasting note I embrace, is ‘smashable’.
At over £20 a pop for many of the best examples, however, means having to be a bit savvy when sourcing wines which offer the same thrill but with a gentler impact on the pocket.
The ones I’ve enjoyed many times in sun-dappled gardens include MiP* – another savvily named and branded little beauty – which has all the poise and elegance of the pricier options, as well as ‘M de Minuty’, with its sleek and curvaceous bottle. The latter offers the palest of pink, diaphanous blush and is a truly beguiling drop.
A big shout-out too for the Fortnum & Mason own-label rosé, which I’ve enjoyed at the department store’s annual food and drink awards more than once. It’s made by the legendary Provençal estate Domaines Ott, and it’s a happy benchmark for classy rosé, though will set you back £20.
Rosé, shmosé? It’s big business. And it’s a lot of fun.