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(2023) Fans of the hugely popular Whispering Angel may not even realise that producer, Château d’Esclans, makes a whole range of rosé wines costing up to £100 per bottle. This will set you back a bit more than Whispering Angel, but to that wines dry, red-fruited charm and purity, it adds a mineral intensity. There's also a subtle creamy and full texture, partly from fermentation in French oak, in a wine that is Whispering Angel's older sibling, showing that much more gravitas. A delicious rosé and gastronomic too, eat with salmon prepared however your prefer or creamy mushroom pasta or risotto.
(2023) Syrah, Grenache, Rolle, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Tibouren are in the mix here, from an estate owned by the luxury goods house of Channel. Unusually it is based on the island of Porquerolles, just off France’s Côte d’Azur, a 12.5 hectare organically farmed estate. A slightly deeper shade than many, touching bronze, the nose has orange and melon rind notes, hints of spice here too. In the mouth, plenty of flavour here. There's ripeness of pear fruit along with red berry succulence. It hints at some sweetness, but then a racy, slightly saline acidity grabs and extends the finish. Again quite a serious and gastronomic style with a bit of substance. £27.95 by the half dozen.
(2023) This is a distinctive and lovely Côtes de Provence rosé, a certified organic blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Perhaps here the Cabernet is the secret weapon, but the wine exhibits such bold ginger spice and pepper, as well as copious fruit. From a family-owned vineyard that once provided the fruit for Domaine Ott's Coeur de Grains cuvée, the palate too bursts with tangy and expressive fruit, a smoky pepperiness persisting into a beautifully balanced finish.
(2023) I was thinking the other day that Whispering Angel is a phenomenon cut from very similar cloth to Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Both wines are pristine, beautifully made examples of their style, but it is perhaps surprising that these prestige bottlings are in such demand by 'ordinary' consumers, even though they sell for well above the UK average wine price of little more than £6. Both wines have captured the consumers' imagination, and each new release is eagerly anticipated. This 2022 is hitting retailer shelves at time of writing. It is the usual blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle, made in stainless steel from a very careful selection of fruit. Such a delicate perfume: rose-hip and pot-pourri, fresh red berries, juiciness of watermelon. On the palate it is dry and refined, the red berries hint at tartness to make the mouth water, the wine finishing with shimmering, elegant acidity. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) The 2021 Whispering Angel blends Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle, Syrah and Tibouren. It's always an extremely refined rosé, but this vintage seems to add an extra ounce of firmness and savoury, food-friendly character. It is aromatic, with pomegranate and fine raspberry and floral aspects, but an intriguing mineral salts nuance too. In the mouth it has that delicious freshness, quite vivacious with tart red berries and zippy citrus and, again, a stony, lightly salty and mineral finish. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Partially barrel fermented in large oak barrels, Rock Angel is made from Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle. A slightly deeper, peachier colour than the other wines tasted here, and a peachier fruit character too: aromatically some floral character, orange and that peach down softness. There's substance on the palate here: yes, there is charming stone fruit and light strawberry character, but a bit of grip too, the barrel component, keen acidity and a touch of tannin even giving real gastronomic credentials. For me the (comparatively) meatiest of the Esclans line-up, but just delicious.
(2020) An absolutely delightful wine, predominatnly Syrah with 20% Mourvèdre and 10% of the white grape, Vermentino, it is made from a selection of the best grapes from their best vineyards near Aix-en-Provence. The Mourvèdre component sees barrel maturation. Such an explosively fruity nose, strawberry and burstingly ripe peach, flowers and a fine salty/earthy note too. In the mouth the fruit is decisive and keen, small redcurrant berries and raspberry, but that keen, mouth-watering edge of salts and lemon giving great thrust and decisive tension. Terrific rosé. No UK stockists at time of review.
(2020) From an estate owned by Bernard Magrez, whose portfoilio of properties includes Pape Clément, this Côtes de Provence Rosé marches to quite a different beat, from vines averaging 41 years of age and with a stated alcohol of 14.5% abv. That translates into a wine that is neither overripe nor particularly deeply coloured, but which has an intrinsic subtle power and intensity. Good, elegant and lifted red fruit notes dominate, but the palate has a real mineral salts streak on acidity along with cleansing citrus, for a concentrated and slightly more serious take on the style.
(2018) Is this the UK's most loved rosé wine? It's not the cheapest, and not the biggest selling, but if my postbag is anything to go by it's the one an awful lot of wine lovers have at #1. Why? Well it's a Provence rosé made from local varieties Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Rolle and Tibouren in the most delicate and pure style. Extremely careful selection of grapes and super-gentle handling gives a wine that is full of fruit on the nose, crushed redcurrants and raspberries, but a glimpse of sherbet lemons and ozone freshness too. In the mouth the texture is silky and slippery, but the sheer concentration of tangy pink grapefruit, tart red berries and zesty acidity streaks across the palate, a long, elegantly tapering finish giving terrific definition and drawing the wine to a lovely diminuendo finish.  Note that this is being offered en primeur by From Vineyards Direct until end February 2018, at £10.50 per bottle. Duty and VAT will be payable once the wine has shipped in March, and it will go on sale at around £17.95 per bottle. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
Displaying results 0 - 9 of 9