Is this the rosé of the summer?
I’m at Stanley’s – Chelsea’s of-the-moment watering hole – on an overcast Friday afternoon. And, as per usual, the place is heaving. Toffs from across west London flock here for the sprawling outside terrace; the fact you’re guaranteed to bump into people you know; plus, everyone seems to be an old chum of owner Hugh Stanley. I’m here however to meet with the team behind Quatre Vin, a hot new wine brand – the rosé, the brand’s first wine, is so new in fact that other than its four founders and a handful of restaurant sommeliers, I’m the first to try it.
The two male founders soon arrive – Oliver Proudlock and Elliot Awin – or ‘the brosés’ as they jokingly call themselves. The duo have just spent the morning pitching their new wine to a host of top London restaurants and it evidently went swimmingly, as the friends are buzzing with excitement. We’re soon joined by their other halves and business partners – Emma-Louise Proudlock, Ollie’s new wife, and Paula Anton, Elliot’s fiancée.
Elliot cracks open an ice-cold bottle of Quatre Vin and pours us each a glass. I’m instantly struck by its colour: the barely-there peach hue is so exquisitely pale that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just poured a glass of water. A sip confirms that this is in fact a bone dry, silky smooth, well balanced rosé.
The wine is organic and vegan and made by the Negrel family of Mas DeCadenet, the seventh generation vignerons in Sainte-Victoire, Provence. Elliot, a third generation wine importer, has been working with the family for 15 years and can vouch for their excellence – according to Google ‘the best Provence rosé’ is Mas de Cadenet, a rosé also made by the Negrel family, which further attests to the winemaker’s high standards.
‘The main grape variety in Provence is grenache,’ explains Elliot, ‘in very general terms most inexpensive rosés are 100 per cent grenache as it’s easy to grow. Ours is a blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah as well.’ The addition of syrah gives the wine texture which makes it more of a food-pairing wine. Emma-Lou, a model and the brand’s resident food aficionado, recommends pairing the wine with charcuterie, cheeses, oily fish, white fish and lamb – although ‘to be honest I would drink this with pretty much anything,’ she admits. And, as I’m experiencing, the wine is also a total pleasure to drink without any food at all. Quicker that I’d care to admit, I swiftly move onto my second glass. My goodness, this is seriously delicious.
It’s obvious that the foursome are great friends – the playful familiarity between them and collective passion for the project is palpable and electric to be around. And while each team member plays a different role within the business, no decision is made without the sign off of everyone. The four were originally introduced through Paula and Ollie, who met five years ago at a Converse event; Paula runs a talent and brand partnerships consultancy, while Ollie, who was previously a TV personality, is now the creative director of his own jewellery brand, Serge DeNime.
It was at the start of the pandemic that the idea of going into business together was conceived. ‘Very quickly we realised that our collective ethos behind building a brand was so aligned,’ explains Elliot, ‘we wanted to work with a small family run producer and over deliver on quality.’ ‘And bring something new to the market,’ adds Ollie. ‘In terms of branding it’s fun, it’s chic and it’s really inviting.’
The wine’s pièce de résistance is without question its taste: The fresh peachy notes are elegantly elevated with a floral expression of white and orange blossom. In short, a classic, mineral Provence rosé that conjures scenes of sun-soaked south of France beaches and British barbecues. As Elliot points out, ‘rosé is a feeling; it’s a mindset. It’s summer in a glass.’ It doesn’t need to be the hottest day of the year to enjoy a glass of Quatre Vin, ‘If you are drinking rosé, it is summer.’ I’ll drink to that.
For more information, visit qvwine.com
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Published at Fri, 21 May 2021 11:53:13 +0000