Tom Stevenson on Château d’Esclans being the focal point for revolutionary progress to raise the quality of Provence rose to that of a truly fine wine & his enthusiasm for the 2009 vintage of Garrus.
“Until very recently, there were only about half a dozen Provence rosés that could be recommended with any confidence, and those recommendations are relative to the wine’s generally lacklustre quality. I had never come across a Provence rosé that I could, hand on heart, describe as a truly fine wine. Until, that is, Sacha Lichine, son of the famous Alexis Lichine, purchased Château d’Esclans at La Motte-en-Provence in 2006. With the help of Michel Rolland, Sacha set about perfecting that most elusive of Provençal wines: a truly fine rosé. The result is a range of beautifully refined, ultra-premium rosés. Top of the range is Garrus, wich retails for £50-100 depending on the store. Is it worth it? I confess that I was very dubious at the thought of any Provence rosé being worth that sort of money and must confess that I have seldom approached any tasting with the lack of objectivity that was lurking at the back of my mind when I first encountered Garrus. Yet I was blown away, particularly by the 2009 Garrus, the exquisite finesse of wich not only sets it apart from anything that has gone before, but also elevates the potential greatness of the rosé genre to that of a classic red or white wine. And why not? This must have been the question that Sacha Lichine asked himself before purchasing Château d’Esclans, and it is now up to the rest of Provence to respond.”