Château d’Esclans, Côtes de Provence (Provence, France) “Les Clans” 2012
($60, Shaw-Ross International Importers):
Sacha Lichine, whose name is synonymous with Bordeaux, is the moving force behind this very high end property in Provence specializing in rosé. Since I am not usually enthralled by rosé, I am surprised by my enthusiasm for this and his other wines. The wines marketed under the Château d’Esclans label come exclusively from estate grapes, while the one under the Caves d’Esclans label [also reviewed this week] combines estate with purchased fruit. Les Clans, a harmonious blend of Grenache, Rolle, Syrah, Tibouren and Cinsault is deceptively pale pink and wonderfully aromatic. It has a real presence, with stone fruit flavors, much like a Rhône white wine, but with exceptional verve and vibrancy. It’s dry, long and very substantive, not your usual “quaffable” (and innocuous) rosé. This rosé makes you pause and contemplate. Lovely by itself, it has enough stuffing to match perfectly with grilled salmon.
95 Michael Apstein Apr 8, 2014
Caves d’Esclans, Côtes de Provence (France) “Whispering Angel” 2013 ($20):
This rosé combines the seriousness of real wine with the charm and seduction of rosé. Delicate and fragrant strawberry-like notes dance across the palate. Without a hint of sweetness, it’s positively fresh, invigorating, and long, all at the same time. Maybe I’m swayed by the long New England winter, but Whispering Angel is truly bottled springtime. Bring on a hearty salade Niçoise.
91 Michael Apstein Apr 8, 2014