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(2023) Garrus must, I suspect, blow the minds of some tasters. It's enough trying to get ones head around a rosé that sells for more than £100 per bottle, but this wine is also anything but 'showy'. Instead, this blend of Grenache and Vermentino is subtle, restrained and intellectual. It seems obvious that the ambition of Sacha Lichine of Château d’Esclans is to create a pink wine with the qualities of a fine white Burgundy: vines are 100 years old, and the wine is fermented and aged 10 months in 100% new oak - though the the barrels are big 600-litre 'demi-muids', so there no overt 'oakiness' on either nose or palate. Instead, intense and concentrated small red berry fruits mingle with firm lemon and ripe apple, a minerality at the core of the aroma giving a strict but inviting character. In the mouth this is so youthful and will surely improve over a decade or more, though for now it is deliciously powerful and yet linear and taut. Those small red berry flavours ease into gentle spice, with the subtlest oak creaminess and plenty of shimmering acidity.
(2022) There is no denying the concentration and serious intent of this 2020 edition of Garrus. A blend of the best parcels of Grenache, Syrah and Vermentino, it was fermented and aged 10 month in French oak 600-litre 'demi-muids'. Taut and mineral on the nose, tasted blindfolded this would be judged a serious, complex white wine I am sure, save for a tell-tale whisper of small, precise red berry fruits and a hint of sweet earth and spice. The palate is quite strict, the tension of the citrus and salts acidity and a little grippy tannin, agains red fruits that are constrained, but one can almost sense a straining at the leash, waiting to blossom more fully. Long, balanced but concentrated, I'd tuck this away for a few years for sure.
(2021) Garrus is made from a single vineyard of nearly 100 year-old Grenache vines, blended with a little Rolle (Vermentino), and fermented in new and second-use French oak barrels of 600-litres, where it is aged for a further 10 months with batonnage. The colour is still delicate and appealing, but the nose is intriguing: the herbs and light floral and summer fruit scents are there, but it seems deeper, it seems as though it is a rosé that is holding something in reserve and not putting it all there from the start. In the mouth it is bone dry, and though there's a hint of passion fruit and even mango, that is soon tempered and calmed by a serious bit of structure, salts and lemon acids yes, but also an intensity of small red berries from cranberry to redcurrant, the concentration seeming to build in the mouth. It's a wine that plays mind-games with you, seeming like a typically fresh, floral and herb-strewn Provence pink one minute, perhaps a delicate and feminine Pinot Noir the next, and yet with the texture and balance of a fine white wine. Truly something exceptional and will cellar positively too.
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