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Britain’s largest rosé wine list is introduced

Franco’s restaurant in London’s Mayfair has launched what it claims is the UK’s largest list of rosé wines.

The long-established Italian restaurant has 52 rosés in total, sourced from 12 countries.

‘It may even be the biggest selection in Europe,’ Andrea Asciamprener, Franco’s wine consultant said. ‘I’ve spoken to many winemakers, and Googled like crazy, and haven’t found any that are bigger.’

Franco’s, in business since 1946 as a plain and modest trattoria with an adjoining coffee bar, became something of a blot on the increasingly ultra-fashionable landscape of Jermyn Street over the years.

In 2004, it was purchased by the Hambro family, owners of neighbouring—and exclusive – Wilton’s.

After extensive renovation, it reopened as a discreetly stylish modern Italian restaurant.

The emphasis on rosé was unplanned, manager and co-owner Jason Phillips said.

‘We decided to put on a dozen rosés as afternoon wines, matched with an antipasto plate. It was so popular that we added another dozen the next year, and it’s kept growing.’

Despite the restaurant’s gentility, the selection is ruthlessly Darwinian—come September and Autumn’s chill, the least popular will be culled, to make room for the next vintage’s array the following Spring.

‘Some people get snippy about rosé,’ Phillips concluded, ‘but there are more and more that make you think twice, and many are also good value—and, certainly, popular.’

Brian St Pierre’s choices:

Rallo ‘Normanno’ Nerello Mascalese 2008 (Sicily) – From the slopes of Mount Etna, quite dry, well-structured, fairly serious.

Vinosia ‘Rosmunda’ 2008 (Catania) – From the Aglianico grape, a surprisingly light wine, with a zip of acidity and lovely fruit—think strawberry fields forever.

Domaine Mathis Bastian 2008 (Luxemburg) – Lively, vibrant Pinot Noir Rosé from a steep slope above the Moselle River, cherry fruit and cranberry tang.

Quinta de Espiga da Boavista Lisboa 2009 (Portugal) – Deep, dark, quite dry and full-bodied, a blend of native grapes packed with black berry fruit.

Jaboulet ‘Parallele 45’ 2009 – Light and lovely Rhône blend (Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah), all about freshness and sunny good cheer, a pretty gamine of a wine.

Franco’s, 61 Jermyn Street, London SW1X 6LX. Tel: +44 (0)20 7499 2211; www.francoslondon.com.

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Written by Brian St. Pierre

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