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Mirabeau Rose – An English Man with a Passion for French Wine:
About the time that I started London-Unattached a series of You-Tube videos appeared. Small (English) children with grapes in washing-up bowls, learning about maceration of grapes to make rose wine. An impassioned Englishman talking about his family’s move to France and their new beginning making wine there. Coals to Newcastle? Well, actually a lot nicer…but nevertheless there did seem to be something slightly improbably about this particular way of living the dream.
Then, a few months later I read (on twitter) that the wine was about to be stocked by Waitrose.
I was amazed. For me at least, it seemed like a remarkable achievement for a young English family.
So I was delighted to be asked to review a couple of bottles of Mirabeau – the classic wine that has been available on the shelves of Waitrose now for several years and ‘Pure’ a new premium wine from Mirabeau that was developed in conjunction with Jo Ahearne MW, who joined the Mirabeau team from a background working with M&S and Harrods. I’ve bought and tried the ‘regular’ Mirabeau before and if Waitrose would care to open a shop in Kennington or Walworth I might buy more. It’s a nice easy to drink Rose, the sort of thing I really enjoy on a summer evening. But the new ‘Pure’ is something I hadn’t tried. And, I was curious to see what other people thought.
What is, I believe, called a vertical tasting, is when you try the standard bottle of wine first, followed by the premium bottle. So, one evening a group of us decided to try just that, with a bottle of each type of Mirabeau. I deliberately didn’t tell people what they were drinking, just poured them half a glass of mirabeau followed by half a glass of mirabeau pure. And, everyone agreed that the more expensive wine was just that bit more refined.
Regular Mirabeau is quite nice enough to drink by itself or appropriately paired for dinner. At around £9-10 retail, it’s not cheap but, it’s not ‘save for a special occasion wine’ either. And in a way that’s what makes it. A light pink it has fresh citrus notes. Toward the dry end of rose, it’s a lovely glass.
Mirabeau Pure is, if anything a little drier, with hints of watermelon and a lovely fresh taste. It retails for around £12-13,
A perfect pale colour, with fresh citrus flavous, what we particularly liked was that the wine had more finish, but less ‘edge’. I’m not a wine specialist, but I thought it was interesting that my three guests all preferred the slightly more expensive wine.
They are in good company. It’s a wine that has received scores of 90 and 91 from Robert Parker for the 2013 and 2014 vintages (anything in the 90s is regarded as exceptional by mere mortals like me).
I suspect Mirabeau are really on to something. The wine is very good. And, it’s a wine where the passion and enthusiasm of Stephen Cronk has created a very special ‘brand’. You only have to watch through the You-tube channel to get a feel for what makes Mirabeau special.