The French in Manchester is winner of Decanter/Laurent-Perrier Restaurant of the Year 2013, for it's simple and unadorned style - as published in Decanter's February 2014 issue.
In detail: The French; wine list
Originally created by Neal Alexander, sommelier at L’Enclume, the wine list at The French has been modified since the restaurant opened, by sommelier Filippo Zito – and by feedback from diners. There were originally two sizes for wines by the glass, for example, but so many customers have opted for the bespoke wine flights accompanying the six- or 10-course menus, that they’ve been cut back to simply 125ml. There are a few biodynamic wines on the list (COS, Occhipinti and Lageder, for example), but they’re presented without fuss, as no one seemed to notice, or care. A few more Italian wine styles have also been listed, notably Grecanico, Etna Bianco and Valpolicella Recioto.
The list is deliberately eclectic, organised varietally and keyed to the food: a few dry Muscats, a light Gewurztraminer, five Rieslings (New and Old World), a similar range of Sauvignon Blancs, a nicely astringent Gamay from Savoie among the Beaujolais, two Alsatian Pinot Noirs and two Californians (Byron and Calera) as alternatives to Burgundy, and a fresh, light Zweigelt from Austria.
Zito says that every time Rogan changes the menu, they retaste all the wines for the bespoke list, adapting the offering accordingly. ‘It’s dynamic,’ he said. Rogan agreed, calling it flavour-driven, then chuckled: ‘We did find, though, that some people splashing out for a celebration wanted something expensive and special, and especially a wine that they know. So there is classed-growth claret and fine Burgundy on the list too.’
Off the beaten track and worth a detour are: COS, Pithos Grecanico, Sicily; Cave de Turckheim, Muscat, Alsace; Clos du Val, Ariadne Sauvignon Blanc, California; Château la Coste, Rosé d’une Nuit, Provence; Caro, Cabernet-Malbec, Mendoza; and Nicolis, Recioto della Valpolicella, Veneto.