EDGE Boston- Drinking Pink :: Vins de Provence 2012

by Kilian Melloy

Caves d’Esclans
“This is what they’re drinking in the Hamptons,” Lornell confided as she poured a splash of Whispering Angel, a Côte de Provence rosé, into a glass and handed it to EDGE.
The wine, a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Vermentino, Tibouren, and Syrah grapes, offered a strawberry essence that was more savory than sweet and carried a lingering, darker edge–almost bitter, but not quite. Overall, the vintage was just the sort of antidote that a connoisseur might hope for to the stereotype of rosé as a kind of alcoholic Kool-Aid, proving that an aroma of berries and fruit need not be dismissed as trivial or one-note.
“As we go up the mountains, the vines get older,” Lornell noted, handing EDGE a glass of Château d’Esclans, a fruity, soft wine with just a little spiciness and, as Lornell pointed out, “a touch of oak.”
Provence rosé wines do not usually spend time in oak barrels, but Caves d’Esclans offers two other vintages that carry a distinctive oaky flavor. One of them is Les Clans, a wine that moves away from berries and fruit and embraces a mineral aroma laced with sweet, but restrained, notes of caramel and vanilla. “This is my favorite,” Lornell said. “This is six months in oak, and I don’t think there are any other rosés in oak. It’s like drinking silk.”
A fourth bottle, Garrus, prompted more joy from Lornell, who punned on the wine’s character with a reference to Whispering Angel. “You drink this,” Lornell said of Garrus, which spends eight months in oak, “and you see angels!”

To EDGE, the Les Clans, which spends two months less in oak, was more likely to evoke divine visions; it carries just enough oak to be distinctive and delicious, without starting to stray into the realm of chardonnay.