CHICAGO TRIBUNE – Luxury rosés are worth it

Pink-wine season is almost upon us. In recent years, dry rosés have become so essential to drinking al fresco that the wine is practically a synonym for summer. The craze is the wine success story of the past decade. But much of the rising tide has only elevated low-price rosés. Now many important wine houses are trying to enter the market with premium-price, luxury versions.

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The first expensive rosé to grab attention was from superyacht haven Provence – Château d’Esclans’s Garrus, which made a splash in 2007 at $100 a bottle. Savory, herbal, super complex, and almost ethereal, it was dubbed the world’s first cult rosé. The very pale 2012 vintage, with its toasty notes of wood aging, seems more like a rich, powerful white wine with a hit of oak and isn’t as good. I prefer the château’s better- value onionskin-colored 2012 Les Clans ($65), with its suave notes of ripe red berries and citrus. A great wine that just happens to be pink, it’s well worth the price.

“I’m trying to make rosé wines grand,” says ambitious owner Sacha Lichine, who enlisted Château Mouton Rothschild’s former managing director as wine consultant. To preserve freshness, picking is done in the early morning and dry ice pellets are dropped into just-picked grapes to keep them cool. Lichine now has 60 hectares of vineyards, including parcels of 80-year-old vines, and buys additional grapes for his mass entry-level rosé, Whispering Angel ($22).

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