After the thundering success of our last rosé offer, courtesy of FromVineyarsDirect.com, we make no apology for having something of a re-run featuring once again the pink wines from Sacha Lichine’s Château d’Esclans estate in Provence.
Yes, they’re the same wines we offered previously, but they’re the most recent vintages thereof, with some tasty discounts to boot. In fact, you’ll be thrilled to hear that this makes them cheaper than last time.
Having some experience of making fine rosé himself (he famously put Château de Sours on the map), FromVineyardsDirect.com’s Esmé Johnstone reckons that anything he ever did has been totally eclipsed by Sacha Lichine and his esteemed partner — Patrick Leon, former head winemaker at Château Mouton-Rothschild.
‘Sacha’s mission has always been to make the best rosés in the world,’ says Johnstone, ‘and he has surpassed anything I ever achieved by a large margin.’
Johnstone, who also founded Majestic Wine, believes that Lichine has managed to tick just about every rosé box possible: colour, flavour and finish; packaging and presentation. It’s hard to disagree.
The 2014 Sacha Lichine Single Blend (1) is the baby of the group and utterly charming. Made from a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, it’s a lovely pale salmon pink and full of wonderfully fresh wild strawberry fruit. It’s fruity yet dry, with a surprisingly firm backbone and a luscious edge too. And thanks to its screwcap (very discreet: it looks like a normal lead capsule), it’s vibrantly refreshing, ideal for impromptu picnics or drinks on the lawn. £9.45 down from £9.95.
The 2014 Château d’Esclans ‘Whispering Angel’ (2) is a fascinating blend of seven varieties (six red and one white) with enormous character. There’s complex ripe red fruit, plenty of acidity and a tongue-tinglingly herbal, spicy finish. No surprise to learn that it’s both Lichine’s and FVD’s bestselling rosé by miles. £14.45 down from £14.95, with party-friendly magnums £29.95 down from £30.95 and extremely party-friendly double magnums £81.00 down from £85.00.
Next, we’ve the 2014 Château D’Esclans ‘Rock Angel’ (3), a sophisticated blend of (red) Grenache and (white) Rolle (aka Vermentino). Dry, but succulent, it has a heady scent of herbs and spice on the nose and a long, creamy, almost nutty, finish. As Lichine says, “It all started with a Whisper, but now it’s time to rock!” £18.95 down from £19.95.
The 2012 Château d’Esclans ‘Les Clans’ (4) is grown-up stuff indeed and, as with its previous vintage, proof that rosé really has come of age. It’s fermented and aged in oak and is finely structured and textured. It’s odd to think of rosé other than something frivolous and quaffable, but this is truly serious wine, despite its saucy, come-hither pale pink hue, and worthy of serious grub if not a serious seduction. £28.95 down from £29.95.
Finally, the mighty 2013 Château d’Esclans ‘Garrus’ (5). You won’t find a finer rosé anywhere — nor, I’m afraid, will you find a pricier one. But it’s a grand cru in all but name, made from old-vine Grenache and Rolle, fermented and aged for ten months in barrel and fantastically complex as a result. There’s cherries and strawberries, cream, vanilla, herbs, spice and a touch of confit lemon and the finish goes on forever. Heavens, I know it’s pricey but this is as good as rosé gets. £60 down from £62.
To view all other offers, visit new.spectator.co.uk/wine-club.