Debunking myths about Rosé with Mirabeau’s Stephen Cronk…

Provence is more than just a beautifully iconic region of meandering vineyards, sun-kissed medieval towns and the birth place of the Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. Its also the spiritual epicentre of French rosé and a stunning region where they have been making one of France’s benchmark wines since 600 BC. So when Stephen Cronk, a former telecoms executive from Teddington, moved his young family to France with aspirations to make his own Provençal rosé, he was met with more than a little scepticism.

Five years later and Stephen has successfully negotiated his principal aim of producing a Provence rosé that is regarded as one of the best in the region. Adored by critics, their Mirabeau Rosé is a classic Côtes de Provence AOC blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault that has been described as “heart-achingly beautiful,” by the Daily Mail and a “crowd pleaser,” by the revered Robert Parker.

As well as a passion for making outstanding wines that have garnered international recognition including a silver medal at the prestigious International Wine & Spirits Competition, the Cronks have been on an interactive odyssey to demystify the often misunderstood processes behind making wine. Stephen identified a yawning gap in a notoriously traditional industry and purposefully positioned Mirabeau as a direct and innovative voice to consumers.
A huge advocate of social media and certainly one of the wine industry’s leading exponents, Stephen saw its vast potential to draw in new audiences and has subsequently managed to articulate the unique Mirabeau story on his beautifully intuitive website. Whether it’s a YouTube video of him opening a bottle of Mirabeau Rouge with just a shoe - a clip which has nearly amassed six million views - or documenting the Mirabeau vintage on Facebook, Stephen has embraced the power of social media in order to build his now widely championed brand.

In an exclusive interview with CellarVie Wines and ahead of a hopefully hot and rosé induced summer, we caught up with Stephen to debunk a few commonly held myths about rosé…

Myth: All rosé is sweet.

The truth: Not so, in fact most rosés are dry and Provence rosés have to be dry in order to qualify for the AOC status. There are medium and sweet rosés but these generally come from the US and are known as 'Blush' wines (although they are becoming less popular these days).

Myth: Rosé wines are not very compatible with food.

The truth: The opposite in fact. Rosé wines, in particular Provence rosés, are some of the most versatile wines around. They have enough character not to be overwhelmed by most foods and the acidity to cut through the flavours and in particular salt. Mirabeau goes well with a lot of Asian food.

Myth: Rosé wines are blends of white and red wines.

The truth: Most rosés are made from red grapes and with limited contact with the grape's skin, the colour turns pink. The more time in contact with the skins, the darker the rosé. Some wines are white and red blended, but these are rare and forbidden in Provence.

Myth: Colour equals quality.

The truth: It's not as simple as that. There are dark and pale rosés that are good and bad. However, if the rosé is very orange in colour this is usually a sign that the wine is beginning to oxidise.

Myth: Screw-cap equals cheap wine.

The truth: The type of closure for a wine is rarely an indicator of quality (unless the wine is closed using the rubber corks that are impossible to get back in the bottle). The French don't like screw caps but that’s because they don't have much exposure to them. The majority of New Zealand and Australian wines are closed with screw cap (up to the very highest quality levels) and screw cap is the best technical closure for rosé wine (and in fact most white and many reds too).
Mirabeau Rosé 2013

Myth: Rosé does not age well.

The truth: This is generally true. Rosé is made to be consumed within the first year or two of production. A few are made to be aged but these are very rare.

Myth: Rosé can only be enjoyed during the summer.

The truth: As rosé is such a versatile wine (as both aperitif and a food wine) it should be enjoyed all year round. In France rosé wine is far more an all-year round wine and in fact the French drink more of it than white wine. But there is no denying that rosé somehow tastes especially lovely in the sun!

Myth: Rosé wines do not merit higher appreciation.

The truth: Rosé wine has undergone a massive change over the past decade in terms of winemaking techniques and perception and some of the best rosés can command high prices (up to £80-100 a bottle in some cases). If you were to taste some of the best rosés blind, you would be blown away with their complexity.

Myth: Real men don’t drink rosé.

The truth: Come on - get real. Do real men wear cologne or buy skin care products? Can real men cook? Provence rosé is made from some of the best red grapes in the world (Grenache, Syrah etc.) and just because we don't extract all the tannin and colour doesn't make the drinker any less of a man. Besides, I drink rosé (but I can also eat quiche and cry in movies - so maybe I'm a bad example). One day Mirabeau will sponsor the England rugby team - that might change perceptions!

To learn more about Mirabeau Wine and Stephen Cronk visit their website:

Article first appeared in Under the Skin Magazine, Summer Edition 2014. CellarVie Wines' quarterly print publication accompanies all orders on 


Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 


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