LA VIE EN ROSÉ
Celebrating the 10th vintage of its buzzy flagship rosé, Château d’Esclans brings a taste of St.-Tropez to the mountains.
CELEBRATING THE 10TH VINTAGE OF ITS BUZZY FLAGSHIP ROSÉ, CHÂTEAU D’ESCLANS BRINGS A TASTE OF ST.-TROPEZ TO THE MOUNTAINS.
Great wine hinges on four elements, says rosé producer Sacha Lichine, the bon vivant owner of the St.-Tropez winery Château d’Esclans: the soil (that ineffable quality called terroir), the grapes, the climate, and, finally, the winemaker, whose craft harmonizes all the other elements. The problem, he adds, is that rosé is the most difficult wine to make well. Luckily for Château d’Esclans, Lichine is perhaps the most eminent producer in the world.
Ten years ago, winemakers, restaurants, and distributors could barely give rosé away. But exports of Provençal rosé to the US increased by more than 900 percent between 2006 and 2015, with a 58 percent increase between 2014 and 2015 alone. Now in its 10th vintage, Château d’Esclans’s flagship rosé, Whispering Angel, has come to epitomize the classic dry Provençal style. Much of the complexity is owed to bâtonnage, whereby fine lees, or dead yeast cells, are stirred back into the wine, while new technologies, including advanced refrigeration systems and pneumatic presses, keep the processing precise, all crucial to the creation of “a product that is very easy to make average,” Lichine says.
“The perception of rosé in America has changed dramatically,” says Aldo Sohm, chef sommelier at New York’s Le Bernardin, whose acclaimed wine program is central to its three Michelin stars. “There’s a real following of rosé now, which didn’t exist a few years ago.” Perhaps Château d’Esclans’s greatest achievement, says Lichine, has been producing wines whose experiences are evocative of St.-Tropez itself—clean, crisp, sophisticated, and fun. “What we’ve done,” he says, “is create a taste.” .
Think pink! “Rosé is something you can drink all
day, anywhere,” says Ian Perry, partner at Grey Lady Aspen. “It’s big in Aspen as
part of après-ski—it feels celebratory. And Whispering Angel in particular was one of the first rosés that really stepped into the spotlight
for the category. ”