THE SENIOR WINE LIST
Unfortunately it’s probably the wrong season to be discussing rosé but that doesn’t seem to have put a stopper on my enthusiasm for the subject. As a result, in much the same way as the whole wine list endeavour itself, I’ve had to split this section into parts. The second wine on this list has fermented into a Jeroboam like bottling and so will be published separately next week. Consider this fittingly succinct, but perfectly-formed, entry then a delightful aperitif.
Galileo commented that “Wine is sunlight, held together by water”. For anyone who has tasted the rosé Château Miraval his intellect might shine even brighter after reading those mere seven words. Miraval is refreshing Provençal sunshine exquisitely bottled. The evocation of light sun-soaked stone, pastel peach roof tiles, warm terraces of gravel, muted lavender and the dappled shade on rosy fruit. Colour tones serenely softened by brilliant sunlight. Appropriately the wine too is softly muted, its own pale hue coming from the gentle blush of skin contact.
At Miraval, and not in the bottle design alone, the parallels between the art of perfume and wine making reach their plateau. This is wine-making by way of Grasse. This isn’t a head-ache inducing perfume of the discount counter, Miraval could have been blended by the olfactory genius of perfumer Thierry Wasser — similarly it isn’t a cheap discount rosé either. Miraval is made by one of the great winemaking families of the region Famille Perrin. Given that perfume is an extract of fresh aromatic oil suspended in a body of water and alcohol it’s simple to continue to sense the similarity. Wasser’s work, most notably, his reinterpretation of Guerlain’s classic L'Heure Bleue has frequently been compared to a watercolour painting. Miraval similarly does not have the vinous body equivalent of a work in oil. This is not to say that it lacks depth at all. Like the sublime paintings of David Downton, in a few simple blush lines true essence is captured completely. In the most subtle simplicity one can often find an expression of true genius.
Enjoy with Tuna Nicoise around a pool overlooking the ocean in Provence. I would recommend deep-frying olives in breadcrumbs like they do at Ralph’s on Paris St-Germain and adding these to the dish too. Miraval is the perfect foil to the additional fat of the coating. Have more of the olives in reserve and plenty of Miraval chilled too.
Thierry Wasser has been the in-house perfumer at leading perfume house Guerlain since 2008.
David Downton is perhaps the world's leading fashion illustrator. His book "Portraits of the World's Most Stylish Women" should adorn the coffee table of anyone who considers themselves a lover of beauty. Similarly his "Masters of Fashion Illustration" is a seminal work on the subject. When not illustrating for Vogue, David is the Artist in Residence at Claridge's Hotel - a position created by the inspired hospitality genius of Claridge's PR Director Paula Fitzherbert and General Manager Thomas Kochs. He can sometimes be found lunching at Colbert.
Famille Perrin, one of the great wine making families of the Rhône valley, are also the producers of one of the best wines of Chateauneuf du Pape -Château de Beaucastel.
Château Miraval is stocked at many major wine merchants throughout the UK and abroad. If you're ever lucky enough to commission David Downton to create your portrait and require refreshment throughout the sitting then, if available, Miraval's Prestige Cuvee Muse de Miraval would be a most appropriate choice.