SUN SENTINEL- Wine Column: Bob Hosmon on Château d'Esclans

Few have heard of or will ever sample the wines of Chateau d’Esclans. It’s a French estate surrounded by over 100 acres of vineyards. In South Florida, these sometimes pricey roses from Provence are showing up on the wine lists of better restaurants, resorts, clubs and at some of the area’s better wine shops.
Owned by Sacha Lichine, whose father was a well-known winemaker in Bordeaux, Chateau d’Esclans aims to produce super-premium roses that are better than anyone else is making. Such quality comes at a price, and Lichine has to buck the notion that pale pink wines are cheap and, in some people’s opinions, trivial.
The least expensive of the four wines produced at the estate is the Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rose, a remarkably refreshing libation that is a good introduction to the entire line. Priced competitively with other roses made in Provence, it is well ahead of that pack in quality.
One step up from and more astringent than Whispering Angel is the still reasonably affordable Chateau d’Esclans “Esclans” Rose, produced primarily from old vine grenache grapes. It offers attractive hints of minerals in every sip.
Moving up in quality — and price — the Chateau d’Esclans Les Clans Rose is aged for two to three years before it’s released, resulting in an intensely full-flavored wine with an almost buttery finish. At the top of the wine chain, the single vineyard Chateau d’Esclans Garrus Rose is, quite simply, perfection. Creamy and rich, it is also a great food-friendly pink.

Serve with: Enjoy the Whispering Angel, the “Esclans” and the Les Clans as aperitif wines or with appropriate summer fare such as country pate and chicken salad. The Garrus can be served with pork or grilled chicken.

Availability/suggested retail: Sold only in the best wine shops, the Whispering Angel retails for about $20, the “Esclans” for $36, the Les Clans for $69 and the Garrus for $100 a bottle.