August 29th 2012
If you get the chance to visit Château d’Esclans in the stunning village of la Motte – DO IT ! Caroline Ralph and I along with some good friends of ours, the Peels, did so for a very memorable night on the 14th August. Owned by the energetic, enigmatic and irreverent Sacha Lichine, it is a very impressive set up. He and his team are creating the very best rosé on the planet with no compromise. His dynamic export director, Alain Rivière, along with Sacha who is based in Singapore, now have a presence in 64 countries! Every conceivable effort is made in the vineyard and winery illustrated by the fact that during the dinner we had there a top “bottler” – Christian, who had come down from Burgundy to safely see Ch d’Esclans’ Garrus 2011– the premium rosé in the line-up – into bottle. I drank plenty of it that night and yes, it is very good indeed- more akin to a great white burgundy in textural terms. Pampellone beach is already responding to the very striking packaging and Domaine Ott has a real contender for the crown!
Looking out from Sacha’s terrace with a glass of his 100% Vermentino (known locally as Rolle ) was a glorious start to the evening- beautiful aromas of nectarine and honey, mid weight and very more-ish! A good volume of Ch d’Esclan’s Les Clans 2010 worked wonders with sea bass and I had the privilege to sit next to the lovely Matilde, Sacha’ s wife whose English makes my French look very pedestrian. A table full of colour, noise and volumes of exceptional wine with great friends was a treat. The “teens” were excused dinner and my son Ralph and his mates played a very energetic game of football with Alexis, Sacha’s son and scorer of 11 of the 12 goals so if he doesn’t follow in his father’s footsteps I am sure a career at Chelsea beckons!
The wines truly are stars and we filled the boot with vino from their shop including a few double magnums of Whispering Angel – the perfect Sunday night tipple for the missus and I. Felicitations to the prince of pink – spectacular achievement.