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Why Whispering Angel is naff — and the new chic rosés you should be drinking this summer

Life is treacherous in the rosé trenches.

Picture this: you’ve bagged the outside bench at the Audley, tapped away upwards of 50 quid on what you thought to be the ‘posh option’ branded rosé and the sun is sparkling — everything is parfait until some tosser plus one starts banging on about how the quality of grapes from (insert overpriced rosé brand here) “has really decreased” recently. Something about “overproduction”, he mews.

Between AIX, Whispering Angel, Minuty and Léoube, to Brangelina’s Miraval and Kylie’s Kylie, picking the correct hun juice is a veritable battleground.

Move over Whispering Angel, Rock Angel is the new wine with wings (Photo by Manny Hernandez/Getty Images for SOBEWFF)Move over Whispering Angel, Rock Angel is the new wine with wings (Photo by Manny Hernandez/Getty Images for SOBEWFF)

Move over Whispering Angel, Rock Angel is the new wine with wings (Photo by Manny Hernandez/Getty Images for SOBEWFF)

“The big brands are all well and good (and rather tasty too!) but guests over the years have started to focus more on gastronomy pairing,” says Chris Goodale, head sommelier at Julie’s, the west London institution which is re-opening its doors this week, of the chic way to play it. “It’s leading people to want more characterful, food-friendly rosé wines such as our Château des Sarrins Côtes de Provence rosé,” he says.

There is a hot new grape to name drop this summer, though. “Provençal producers such as Clos Cibonne bringing grapes like Tibouren (a rare variety that enhances the savory character of rosé wines) back into the picture adds a very pleasing dimension to the rosé section of a wine list,” he says.

Keep calm is the advice from Hannah Crosbie, the writer often dubbed ‘The Nigella of Wine’ and author of Corker: A Deeply Unserious Wine Book (fear not, I’ve asked her to be serious this time). “In order to put Côtes de Provence on the label, a wine has to be made from certain grapes from certain areas, which will ensure a level of quality and flavor profile and they’re largely going to taste quite similar,” she says.

Rock Angel is better than Whispering Angel (which has hit naff, yummy Cotswolds mummy status) this year — “it’s partially oak aged so it’s more complex and layered than the classic Whispering Angel, which is widely considered a ‘true’ Provence rosé,” says Crosbie, who served it at her book launch. “Drink! I’m going a bit nutty for Xinomavro rosé from Greece. It’s a black grape that many people liken to Pinot Noir, resulting in deeply colored (which isn’t always an indicator of poor quality, incidentally) gastronomic rosés with a bit of grip on the palate. Yum,” she says.

Kylie Minogue attends and showcases her hun juice at the worlds biggest wine fair, ProWein (Getty Images for Kylie Minogue W)Kylie Minogue attends and showcases her hun juice at the worlds biggest wine fair, ProWein (Getty Images for Kylie Minogue W)

Kylie Minogue attends and showcases her hun juice at the worlds biggest wine fair, ProWein (Getty Images for Kylie Minogue W)

As for A-list, Kylie’s brand has been cropping up at wine industry BBQs. “Minogue is far more involved than the average celebrity is with their own wine brand (see her surprise visit to the German trade fair ProWein), but that’s not to say she is crushing the grapes herself with her size threes,” Crosbie says. “It is a good-value rosé.”

All that’s left is the drinking. “Opt for a tulip glass where the rim is narrower than the base to collect all the wine’s aromas,” she says. “Ice buckets are fine when it’s warm,” but as for cubes in the nectar… “diluting and muting the flavors of a wine with ice? It dulls the experience,” Goodale thinks. Branded or not, heaven knows a muted rosé is good for nothing.