Chateau d’Esclans Rosé, Domaines Sacha Lichine

The Wine of the Week
by Annette Tomei

Annette is the founder of VinEducation, where she is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to EatSomethingSexy.com.

Chateau d'Esclans Rosé2013 Chateau d’Esclans Rosé, Domaines Sacha Lichine, Côtes de Provence, France

It hasn’t been long since I last wrote about a rosé from Côtes de Provence, but after enjoying this one on the first beautiful spring day in NYC with a delicious meal, I can’t resist. Where the previous wine was a 2011 vintage, this one is a recent release, and a fine sample of what this vintage has to offer.

Chateau d’Esclans was founded in 2006 by Sacha Lichine, son of the late Alexis Lichine, the legendary Russian wine writer who made an indelible mark on the wine worlds of France and California. The Lichine wine legacy may have roots in Bordeaux and Burgundy, but it finds its heart in Provence where the clay and limestone soils produce aromatic Grenache grapes for Chateau d’Esclans’ premium rosés (of which they produce four). Overseeing production is consulting winemaker Patrick Léon, renowned winemaker from Bordeaux (and so much more), with his son Bertrand.

This particular wine is the second tier of the four wines produced by Lichine and the Léons – this positions it one tier above the popular Whispering Angel, but more accessibly priced than the premium and ultra-premium levels above (Les Clans and Garrus, respectively). The wine is made from Grenache with a small amount of Vermentino (aka Rolle). Grapes are hand-harvested and triple-sorted (twice by hand, once by high-tech scanner) for ripeness. Fermentation for this wine takes place in 50% stainless steel and 50% oak demi-muids (600 liter barrels).

The soft pink color and delicate floral and mineral aromas belie the luxurious texture and rush of stone fruit and pear, with a hint of oak that follows – what begins with a burst of tartness rounds out to a long, slightly astringent finish with lingering aromas of roses and red raspberries. The lush texture and clean, bitter finish make this an ideal wine to pair with richer foods, especially with vegetables involved – I can vouch for lobster roll and tempura zucchini chips, and a simple, delicious preparation of Montauk Bluefish and hearty green; also consider trying with risotto, hearty grains, duck and pork.