The other day I started a conversation about rosé with two wine-loving friends. Before I finished my opening sentence one stood up, muttering darkly about, “Foul, bloody sticky stuff,” and left the table. It’s fair to imagine that he hasn’t tasted much decent Provencal rosé, which, far from sticky, is peerless on a hot day. Last summer my everyday rosé was Saint Baillon while Domaine Ott’s Château de Selle Rose Coeur de Grain was the obvious choice for Friday nights.
While Saint Baillon remains a faultless choice Ott’s place as the ne plus ultra of rosé is under threat – from Chateau D’Esclans. Surprisingly, for rosé, it’s the 2008 that’s on song this summer. The estate, run by Sacha Lichine, confusingly produces four wines, of which the Esclans is probably the first choice for all but the most special occasions – on which the Garrus is the bottle to reach for. The prices are steep, but the colour, which is a deal breaker when it comes to rosé, is a sublime shade of onion skin and the wine is crisp but complex.
Chateau D’Esclans Esclans 2008 £17.51, Chateau D’Esclans Garrus 2008 £70.01 www.bibendum-wine.co.uk