THE ROYAL GAZETTE

Whispering Angel is a heavenly rosé

I have certainly written about the worldwide trend for fine rosé, especially from the Provence region of France.

I have been thinking about this rather a lot as requests are coming in from the fleet about to assemble at our island.

Serena Sutcliffe, previous chairperson of the Institute of Masters of Wine and the second woman to achieve the vaulted title of MW, commented on Whispering Angel rosé “loaded on yachts on the Cote d’Azur and consumed in quantity by connoisseurs”.

Last year, the USA showed an astonishing increase in cases of fine rosé of 58 per cent over the previous year. Compare this with an overall increase of all wine of only 1.9 per cent.

In 2006, Sacha Lichine purchased a 19th century manor in Provence that was surrounded by 650 acres of parkland, forest and gnarled old vines. It was just another struggling estate and much of the grapes from one hundred acres of vines were sold to neighbouring winemakers.

A year later, he released his first vintage of the cleverly named Whispering Angel. Now, he is also buying grapes that match his high standard, from an additional 1,100 acres. It is said that his range of rosé from Chateau d’Esclans has not just ridden the wave of this rosé boom – it is the wave!

We carry magnums, bottles and half bottles of Whispering Angel for $51.20, $25.45 and $15.10 respectively. The British Decanter magazine recently commented: “91/100 from the very beginning (ex Mouton Rothschild) winemaker Patrick Léon crafted a lighter style of rosé, and this very much errs on the side of being fresh, clean and mineral with a white peach expression.

“The style has been very closely maintained over the past ten years, even as the grape sourcing has grown exponentially. This is unoaked, vinified in stainless steel tanks and kept chilled at every stage of the process (protects bright fruit) from a blend of Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault and Syrah, all hand-harvested. Easy to see why this works so well.”

I think a rather good idea for the summer is to make Whispering Angel your Monday to Thursday rosé and, for weekends, please consider the big sister, Rock Angel. We are just introducing the very attractive new label along with the 2015 vintage.

The Wall Street Journal writes: “What a stunner. A refined refreshing rosé.” MW Matthew Jukes said: “It sure does rock! The Whisperer in a leather jacket.”

The Grenache and Vermentino grapes for Rock Angel are picked between sunrise and noon to assure the best balance and they are sorted by optical eye electronically and manually three times to assure that only perfect grapes make the cut.

The Vineyards Direct publication claims that Rock Angel 2015 has reached new heights and is a serious wine in its own right and similar to a good, white Burgundy. The Wine Spectator remarks: “Creamy edge, with strawberry and white raspberry fruit. Shows a lovely range and tension for a rosé.” $33.55.

So, what do we do for anniversaries, birthdays or just an exceptional vinous treat? Let me suggest Chateau D’Esclans Les Clans 2015 rosé and share some comments — the Fine World of Wine, “This is Provençal rosé, but not as we know it”; Wine Review on Line, “A captivating wine that draws you in slowly and prevents you from leaving”; Jancis Robinson, “It’s really great that rosé has this kind of wine in the category —something to aspire to”.

Grenache and Rolle for Les Clans are selected from the finest lots of old vines and the juice is 90 per cent free run and 10 per cent first, slight pressing. This degree of care assures that only the finest and purest juice is used.

Here is how Mathew Jukes sees it: “Les Clans has finally found its feet; there is an initial blush-inducing tenderness to this wine that almost makes you apologise for disturbing it in the glass.

“Thereafter, it gathers its skirts and strikes a firm pose parading ginger-lily and pink grapefruit touches alongside the red cherry-stone theme.

“This is the gossamer texture of Whispering and Rock Angel that are smoother and longer than ever before. The acidity is proud and combative and there is still spiciness and traction lingering on the palate minutes later.

“This is an heroic wine and it further underlines the Les Clans model — one of scintillating charm balanced with brittle attitude”.

I think he likes it! $53.55.