Sum­mer’s fa­vorite sip has ma­tured into a wine for all sea­sons.

In the not-so-dis­tant past, rosé wine was lit­tle more than a cheap tip­ple un­known out­side the South of France. “You would buy it in what we call un pichet—a pitcher—like san­gria,” re­calls Paul Che­va­lier, wine­maker and Na­tional Fine Wine Di­rec­tor at Shaw-Ross International Im­porters. “It didn’t even come in a bot­tle.” Fast for­ward to 2017, how­ever, and that rep­u­ta­tion is all but de­mol­ished. Che­va­lier is partly re­spon­si­ble for the wine’s me­te­oric rise in the last decade: his cham­pi­oning of St.Tropez’s Château d’Es­clans and its ros­ter of out­stand­ing rosés— Rock An­gel, Les Clans, Gar­rus, and the ever-pop­u­lar Whis­per­ing An­gel—has helped pro­pel them to the sta­tus of house­hold names for any oenophile. Whis­per­ing An­gel, Château d’Es­clans’s del­i­cately hued best-seller, with its re­fresh­ing pal­ette of peach, cherry, and cit­rus bal­anced by a sub­tle min­eral edge, ac­tu­ally out­sells all other rosés in Amer­ica by a stun­ning four to one.

And with good rea­son: Côtes de Provence rosés are made with zero sugar, mak­ing them more drink­able and complex than those Kool-Aid-col­ored va­ri­eties stuck in so many wine drinkers’ imag­i­na­tions. Their unique fla­vor also makes them a match for al­most any cui­sine. “The taste pro­file starts like a white but fin­ishes like a red,” says Che­va­lier. “Rosé is prob­a­bly the most ver­sa­tile wine for pair­ing. It goes with light food, yes, but also Asian, spicy; it re­ally goes across the whole spec­trum.”

All of these ben­e­fits mean that rosé has mor­phed into a bev­er­age that com­mands the same re­spect as Cham­pagne. “Yes, you can have rosé by the pool, but you can have it for a cel­e­bra­tion as well,” says Che­va­lier. Top event plan­ners, like An­nie Lee of bou­tique firm Daugh­ter of De­sign (daugh­terofde­, have no­ticed this shift as well. “It is syn­ony­mous with sum­mer so­cial­iz­ing, but is per­fectly el­e­gant enough for black-tie oc­ca­sions,” she says. And for younger gen­er­a­tions, there may be more ca­chet to drink­ing some­thing other than stan­dard bub­bly. “Fifty per­cent of Whis­per­ing An­gel con­sumers are mil­len­ni­als,” says Che­va­lier. “They’re not ob­sessed with Cham­pagne; they want rosé, and at all dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions. They have it for Thanks­giv­ing, for the hol­i­days, in the evening… If you have a big bot­tle, it be­comes a party!”

Whis­per­ing An­gel (BE­LOW), the flag­ship of Château d’Es­clans’s ex­tra­or­di­nary ros­ter of rosés (LEFT), is the coun­try’s best-sell­ing rosé by four to one. HERE: The name­sake 659-acre es­tate just north of St.-Tropez.

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