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House Wines: Rosé

This category saw fewer entries, and too much ‘bubble gum and pear drop’. Our tasters did well to find three nuggets of gold in among the dross.


Perhaps it was (as with the House Whites) a shortage of available product, following 2012. Perhaps it was simply that producers are sick of sommeliers complaining about what they get to taste – which they do here year after year.

But whatever the reason, we saw fully half the number of submissions in this category compared with 2012’s competition. Surely the producers don’t think the rosé boom is over? Or maybe they’re not confident with what they have in their portfolio…

Depressingly, this fall in numbers was not counterbalanced by an increase in quality. The overall standard here was still lamentable. And after a record eight medals last year, we were back to a decidedly feeble three in 2013. It was, by some distance, the worst-performing House Wine category.

The tasters’ verdict? Too much ‘bubble gum and pear drop’ and nowhere near enough depth. The medal winners, for instance, were all chosen because they had a bit of freshness and, as Enigma 88’s Michael Moore pointed out, ‘won’t fall over after six months’.

With margins critical here, wines that over-performed for the price were instantly put to the head of the queue. ‘Some of the wines at £4.50 were doing just as well as those at £5.20,’ observed Cubitt House’s Matthew Cocks. And with margins critical it’s perhaps no surprise that all the medal winners were under £5.

Well done to Boutinot, which got both of the Golds, the Mirabello stepping up from Silver last year, and the Percheron picking up a By The Glass award as well.

‘House wine needs to be something that you want people to order a second bottle of. Something that you are proud of putting on your list.’
Olivier Marie, Le Coq d’Argent

‘At this level, a screwcap is an absolute necessity. I won’t consider the wine otherwise. It’s all about ease, of opening, resealing, storing and keeping the wine fresh in the bottle.’
Jenny Mackenzie, The Plough