(2022) Fans of Whispering Angel will notice a slightly more gastronomic, mineral and meaty character here, Esclans cuvées from this point up seeing some barrrel fermention, of Grenache, Cinsault and Vermentino. Peachy-pink, this is in some ways a sweet spot on price and quality for the whole, impressive range: intense, concentrated peach fruit, but with a keen raspberry edge of mouth-watering tartness, minerals and a touch of savoury tannin into a long, shimmering finish.
(2022) Last year's Les Clans was a fabulous wine that I ranked more less equally with the Garrus, and I have to say this 2020 is equally compelling. The blend is Grenache, Syrah and the white Vermentino, the wine fermented and aged 10 months in oak. I detect the creamy, quality but subtle oak across the aromas, but there's a raft of delightful small red berry fruit that still dominates the nose. The palate shows that layered, complex subtlety, delicate but so intense, the frut and mineral, stony acid core combining to extend the finish.
(2022) The estate wine is partly vinified in larger oak barrels and blends Grenache and Syrah with Vermentino. There's an attractive peachiness on the nose here, but mostly tight, small red berries and a wisp of salt. The palate is firm and has a really decisive, dry, grippy citrus core that is eminently food-friendly. Long, structured, with a saline edge, it's a lively and serious wine.
(2021) A blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Tibouren, Carignan and Rolle, this is Saint-Maur's top cuvée, even paler than the regular Côte de Provence rosé, and very aromatic. There's even a touch of elderflower and passionfruit here among the pretty red berry fruit notes, and a sense of something more taut and mineral. In the mouth it bursts with sweet, ripe fruit, but there's a tart, mouth-watering character too with citrus and salts balancing into the finish. Quite powerful and concentrated too, it nicely straddles prettiness and power.
(2021) The blend here is old vine Grenache, Vermentino and Syrah, a selection of fruit, with fermentation and 10 months ageing in 600-litre barrels, new and second use. It immediately gives an impression of cool precision on the nose, a little lemon and lemon bon-bon note, yes some small, taut red berries, but intense, salty and mineral like a slatey dry Riesling in some ways, the oak more or less imperceptable in the aroma. In the mouth there's a sweetness to the fruit, a little dusting of icing sugar over frozen red berries, just giving up their juiciness, but again this is ultra-cool and elegant. The oak adds a creaminess, as much to the texture as the flavour, and the poise and effortless elegance extends and clarifies into a long, long finish. Superb, and though different from Garrus, for me giving more or less equal pleasure.
(2021) This is Esclans estate wine, no cuvée name except 'Château d’Esclans', made from Grenache and Rolle, partly vinified in demi-muids (600-litre big barrels). There's a white peppery, stony character here, taut with lemon zest and cool Asian pear fruit aromas, the oak transparent. In the mouth the texture is creamy (the barrel ageing and lees stirring no doubt helping with that) and the fruit is bright, a little red apple but mostly a dry redcurrant, a hint of peach, then zipping, saline acidity to extend the finish.