In the beginning of May, we went on a trip to the Provence to discover great new Rosés and to visit some of the wineries we already have in our assortment. The first one I’m going to write about is the star of the Rosé World and one of our all-time and all-year favorites: Château d'Esclans.
We started our day in a cloudy morning but as soon as we drove up this beautiful valley towards Château d'Esclans the sun came out.
From the moment we entered the winery we had an amazing time. Our guide Christian was wonderful. He put so much effort into explaining us every detail and answered all our questions we were having. He is a great ambassador for Château d'Esclans and we really appreciated his friendliness, patience and knowledge of the winery but also the Provence area in general.
When it comes to great Rosé wines it is all about the details. At Château d'Esclans the grapes get harvested by hand at night and early morning when the temperatures are low to keep the grapes chilled till they are in the winery. There the first step is a machine that filters out the grapes that are a little under ripe or too ripe additionally to the hand selection before. Then the grapes get destemmed, slightly and gently pressed with the most modern machines in wine making. The temperature is always kept low between 7 and 8 Degrees Celsius to keep the freshness and acidity in the grapes and to avoid oxidation. This process keeps the color of the wines very light and only presses out the best grape juice. The famous and top premium wine of Château d'Esclans “Garrus” is mostly made from free running juice after the grapes got slightly crushed! The Garrus and some of the other wines get straight into oak barrels for fermentation some into stainless steel.
So what differentiates the different Rosés of Château d'Esclans?
After visiting the winery and the beautiful park in front of the Château where the owner and his family still live, we were able to taste their delicious Rosés. No need to say that we love them all but some are real treasures only for the special occasions in life.
The Whispering Angel is my personal favorite. This Rosé is so round, elegant and refreshing just as you would imagine a Provence Rosé in your dreams. Easy to drink at the pool, in the evening as an aperitif or just sitting on your balcony. Every time when I open a new bottle of the Whispering Angel I’m just a very happy man!
The next wine we were tasting is the Rock Angel which is one step up. It has a satin texture, more body which comes from being partly fermented in oak barrels. This Rosé is really versatile. It can be a delicious aperitif but also a great wine to pair with food. The main grape is Grenache like always in the Provence and in this case the second grape is Rolle (Vermentino).
Next in the Château d'Esclans hierarchy is the “Les Clans” a sophisticated, food driven Rosé. This wine is absolutely comparable to great Burgundy Chardonnays. The grapes come from old vines and like in Burgundy this wine gets a 10 months Bâtonnage. Bâtonnage is the French term for stirring settled lees back into wine. “Lees” are the sediment of winemaking, usually made up of yeast. Winemakers sometimes like to keep some of these solids in contact with the wine as a way to extract flavor, aroma and texture.
The Champion of Château d'Esclans is the “Garrus”. Made the same style as the “Les Clans” the Garrus still topps everything you have ever tasted before. Using grapes from 80 year old vines and the philosophy of nothing but the best makes this Rosé a superlative. This Rosé has depth and structure and is definitely a unique experience of taste and flavor. “Greatest Rosé ever” 98/100 James Suckling!
In the winery and in the wines you can feel, smell and taste all the dedication from the owner Sacha Lichine. The family has phenomenal experience in great wine making as their roots are in Bordeaux where they owned Chateau Prieuré Lichine and Chateau Lascombes.
We had a great time at Château d'Esclans and we really love their Rosés!