Like many who started their drinking careers in the late Seventies, I grew up – and threw up – on Mateus Rosé. I’ve still got the bottle lamps to prove it (in the attic somewhere, along with my flares and cheesecloth shirts). In those days, rosé was as naff and as cheap as could be and not only would no self-respecting wine lover touch it, no self-respecting winemaker would produce it.
How times have changed! Pink is no longer the rinky-dink drink it once was. Sales have rocketed over the past year or so and show no signs of slowing down. Wine lovers have cottoned on to the fact that it’s hip to drink rosé and winemakers have cottoned on to the fact that it’s worth their while making top-quality examples.
Nobody has had greater success in this field than Sacha Lichine, whose avowed intent it is to make the best rosés in the world, helped in no small measure by Patrick Léon, former head winemaker at Château Mouton-Rothschild. You can judge for yourself whether or not they have succeeded by taking advantage of this excellent offer from Lichine’s Château d’Esclans estate in Provence.
The 2013 Sacha Lichine Single Blend is a great place to start. Made from 100 per cent Grenache, it’s a hugely appealing salmon pink in colour and full of vibrantly fresh wild strawberry fruit. It’s dry, with a keen acidity and is thirst-quenchingly refreshing. It’s just £9.95 a bottle and comes with a screwcap, ideal for instant access when nothing but an immediate glass of pinkers in the garden will do.
The 2013 Whispering Angel is Sacha Lichine’s most popular wine. A blend of Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault, Syrah and Tibouren (nope, I hadn’t heard of it either but learn that it’s a red grape notable for its earthy garrigue aromas), it has great character with lovely ripe, red fruit, plenty of acidity and a herbal, spicy finish. It’s £14.95 a bottle, £32.95 a magnum and, if you really want to show off and make the party sing, £85 a double magnum.
For another fiver a bottle there’s the 2013 Château D’Esclans, a joyous blend of Grenache and Rolle (aka Vermentino). Dry, but wonderfully, saliva-inducingly succulent, it has a heady scent of herbs and spice on the nose and a long, creamy, almost nutty, finish. It’s £19.95 a bottle, £42 a magnum and £98 a double magnum.
The 2011 Les Clans is serious stuff indeed, and proof that rosé really has come of age. It’s oak-fermented and aged and beautifully structured and textured. It isn’t for idle summer quaffing, but to have alongside dishes such as poached salmon and new potatoes or herb-crusted rack of lamb. It’s also a wine to keep (and who’d have thought of laying down bottles of rosé a few years back?). £30 a bottle.
Finally, the ace in the pack, the 2012 Garrus. This is as fine a rosé as you will ever find, a grand cru in all but name, made from old-vine Grenache and Rolle, fermented and aged for ten months in barrel. It’s absurdly complex with cream, butter, cherries, vanilla, herbs, spice and dried fruit in the mix. The finish goes on forever. It might be an eye-watering £62 a bottle but it’s a remarkable wine and no mistake.
Think pink and enjoy!
Click here to take advantage of this offer (subject to closing date).
All prices are correct at time of publication, but we may alter prices at any time for any reason.