Think Pink, a new chapter for the rosé wines from Château d’Esclans

In 2019 the winery became part of the LVMH group, which bought 55% of its shares, strengthening its commitment to create luxury and unique rosé wines

19-04-2021
A view of the Château from above

A view of the Château from above

If we think of Provence, we're captured by the charm of the sun, of the fields of lavender, of the bright blue sky and the crystal clear sea, while only experts will appreciate it as a wine heaven. We're in La-Motte-En-Provence in the department of Var, a place where most of the rosé wines under the Rosé de Provence AOCare born.

Château d’Esclans, since 2019 part of Bernard Arnault's group, is a castle located between Cannes e Saint-Tropez. It changed its ownership a few times until it was bought in 2006 by Sacha Lichine, born in Bordeaux of Russian heritage, and previously based in the United States. He started working in the family Châteaux, Prieuré Lichine and Château Lascombes, before starting to express his great talent in wine making on the other side of the ocean.

His father Alexis Lichine, an emblematic figure in the wine world, allowed his son to follow his business ideas. And his venture in Provence was the turning point to create some unique rosé wines. Whispering AngelRock Angel and Garrus are a concrete example of the huge growth in quality of this type of wines. The arrival of LVMH, buying 55% of the shares of the castle, strengthened the synergy with Lichine to continue making luxury rosé wines.

The wine making was initially handed to guru Patrick Léon, oenologist at Mouton Rothschild and one of the founders of modern wine making. He conveyed the greatness of this region in the bottle, where the intense aromas of herbs, flowers and fruits can then be found in the glass. After the premature death of Patrick  his place, since September 2011, went to his son Bertrand, who took the helm with skill and competence resulting, vintage after vintage, in wines of the finest quality.

The grapes at Château d’Esclans are handpicked early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. The grapes, once in the cellar, follow an advanced wine-making process, in just 5 minutes to avoid any oxidation, which is the most vicious enemy of rosé wines. After the selection by hand, thanks to an electronic optical system, each grape undergoes a sudden cooling bringing the temperature from 29°C to 7-8°C.  This is followed by a soft pressing in three stages, resulting only in the free must and, based on the degree of the pressing, the Chef de Cave decides which must will ferment in steel tanks, or in oak demi-muid barrels of 600 litres with bâtonnage, a unique feature of Esclans.

Garrus

Garrus

140 hectares of vineyards, where grapes of Grenache prevail, followed by Rollo (Vermentino), Cisault, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Tibouren. The plots are divided into two macro-areas: the one to the south of the castle, richer in clay, with soil that is more suitable for younger vines, and the hills of Draguignan that have a more calcareous and chalky soil. Here there are centennial vineyards of Grenache from which Garrus, the excellence according to Esclans, is made. 

This rosé wine surprises for its elegant aromas, from peach to fruits of the forest, orange flowers, a creamy sip with light tones of vanilla given by the French oak. A surprising versatility.  Whispering Angel and Rock Angelare both interesting and more immediate, fruity and full-bodied, with a moderate acidity.

Whispering Angel

Whispering Angel

Paul Chevalier, Global Director of Marketing and Château d’Esclans USA Vice president is a key figure. A prominent member of the wine world, after studying viticulture and wine making in Reims and at the University of Bordeaux, he started his career at the iconic Château Margaux, before moving to New Zealand and Cloudy Bay.

Rock Angel

Rock Angel

For quite some time he's been making use of his talent at Château d’Esclans and, during an online tasting, he explained the new trend in their rosé wines by saying: «The market share of Château d'Esclans and the value of the Cotes de Provence category are both around 10%. In 2020 the Italian import of rosé wines from Provence decreased by some 50% compared to 2019, but interestingly the average price per bottle increased by 20%. This, given that at Esclans we're projected towards “premium” wines, like Garrus soon to be available in in Italy, shows the great potential of growth of this market segment».

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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