MATTHEW JUKES "2012 Château d’Esclans Rosé… A triumph…"

2012 Whispering Angel Rosé, Caves d’Esclans, Côtes de Provence

This is a superb vintage of Whispering Angel and my only quibble with the silky smooth, haunting wild red berry fruit notes is the apparent juiciness on the finish.  I would prefer it to have more of a snap of acidity on the finish, shocking the palate back into order, but not to worry.  The faint cherry nuances are delicious and lip-smacking and if you chill it down ice cold I would wager you could drink it from midday to midnight without a care in the world! 17/20

2012 Château d’Esclans Rosé, Côtes de Provence

A triumph – this is the finest vintage of Château d’Esclans Rosé to date.  The extra dimension of heart-achingly beautiful fruit and the addition of carefully judged oak are sensational.  The finish is bone dry and there are layers of scintillating wild berry fruit making this the most sophisticated 2012 Rosé I have tasted this year.  There is no doubt that this wine will age well, too, but I cannot keep my hands off it right now.  This is set to be the must-have rosé for fine dining this summer. 18.5/20

2011 Les Clans, Château d’Esclans, Côtes de Provence

A more studious and considered wine with less overt fruit and more introspection, Les Clans is a masculine wine in 2011 and it lacks flamboyance and verve and it its place there is seriousness and structure.  A main course wine with true tannins and grip, this is a veritable ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ style of rosé and the wild herbal notes make for a fascinating aroma while the savoury oak nuances crave lobster, veal or roast chicken. 18/20

2011 Garrus, Château d’Esclans, Côtes de Provence

This is one of the finest rosés I have tasted in my life and I am aware of the vertiginous price and this still doesn’t put me off.  If rosé Champagne can cost the earth why can’t a still rosé command a high price, too?  If it tastes this good then there is no reason why people will not seek it out.  If you want the best – this is it.  Garrus comes from a block of 80 year old vines and only a handful of barrels are made each year.  This is awesome wine and when I tasted this vintage I kept the rest of the bottle to pour for some friends who were coming around for dinner that evening.  I have never seen four highly vocal pals dumbstruck in just one sip.  This is what this mesmerising wine does to you.  It is as near to perfection as I have tasted. 19/20

2011 Déssse, Astrée, Caves d’Esclans, Vin de Pays du Var

This stunning looking white is a honeyed creature with moments of mint and wild garlic lending a savoury edge to the stone fruit lusciousness.  Pretty and balanced and drinking perfectly already there is deceptive richness here which would force me into drinking it with main course fish and crustacea dishes as opposed to as an aperitif in spite of its obvious allure on the nose.  A very impressive white wine indeed – much in need on the French Riviera. 17.5/20

2011 Déssse, Rouge, Caves d’Esclans, Vin de Pays du Var

I was not expecting this wine to be so polished and honed when I first tasted it.  There is a touch of charry oak overlaying the fruit but it is counterpointed by stunning blackberry richness and hedgerow notes and the whole flavour from start to finish is a joy.  It is not quite as long as I would like and the tannins are a little raw, but this is a very smart, modern wine that would impress all-comers with its élan and build-quality. 17/20