Leading Provence rosé producer Château d’Esclans officially brings its collection of world-class rosé wines to Singapore.
I tasted Whispering Angel with some friends for the first time almost five years ago – at the sadly now-defunct alfresco bar Pandora’s Garden – as part of a rosé wine flight. We decided, at that time, that rosé wine will be the next big thing in Singapore’s wine scene, and that Château d’Esclans’ signature wine will be leading that charge.
Forward to 2022. Unlike in other parts of the world – most of Europe, California, and Australia, for example – rosé is hardly making a dent in local wine circles, while Whispering Angel was barely available in significant quantity in the market to make any kind of difference.
Until now. As of last month, Château d’Esclans – thanks to its strategic partnership with Moët Hennessy (which bought a 55% stake in it) – has announced the official availability of its range of world-class rosé wines for Singapore.
If you’re not familiar with Château d’Esclans, the winery – located in the heart of Provence – is largely credited with the worldwide popularity of rosé. Château d’Esclans owner Sacha Lichine was originally a scion of famous Bordeaux wine house Château Prieuré Lichine. But Lichine felt that his future was in making rosé, so in 1999 he sold his family estate and spent years looking for the perfect property to achieve his dreams. In 2006 Lichine found it in Château d’Esclans, a 270-hectare property in a winemaking region on the opposite end of France. That property was planted to Cinsault and Grenache, two wine grapes that were perfect for making rosé.
Those days were the heyday of blush wines. But they were mostly unsophisticated and overly-sweet wines of little character, Lichine had felt. He was instead determined to create the world’s greatest rosé. To that end he invested in the latest winemaking technologies, even hiring expert oenologist and former Mouton Rothschild head winemaker Patrick Léon for the purpose.
Sacha also knew that you can make the best rosé, but you need others to agree with you. He was dead set on putting his wines into the hands of anyone who’d be willing to listen. He was so invested in face-to-face marketing, there are stories of Lichine sitting in Miami restaurants and sending over a bottle of Whispering Angel to the next table, just to get word-of-mouth going.
So thanks to a combination of fortuitous provenance, skillful winemaking, and clever dogged marketing, Lichine was the elemental force that effectively elevated what was a rather pedestrian wine into the a global phenomenon. Today when you talk about the best luxury rosés in the world, Château d’Esclans inevitably turns up in conversation.
Aside from its signature Whispering Angel, also available as part of the Château d’Esclans range are the Rock Angel, Les Clans, and Garrus. All are very different expressions of rosé, but each tell a unique story of Côtes de Provence.
Whispering Angel is a fruit-forward elaboration of a Provençal rosé, rife with luscious fruit of lemon, cantaloupe, orange peel, and peaches. Rock Angel on the other hand expresses more mineral characters, while Les Clans offers a deeper, creamier experience from being aged in large French oak barrels. Then there’s the Garrus, considered the most exclusive rosé in the world. This is a single vineyard rosé, with fruit gathered from a single vineyard of nearly 100-year-old Grenache vines, with just a touch of Vermentino for added freshness.
Rosés may not yet be on the lips of most Singapore consumers. But if there’s one brand that can drive consumer appreciation and adoption of the wine style? Our money is on Château d’Esclans.
The Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel is available from specialist wine stores 1855 The Bottle Shop, Bottles & Bottles, The Moomba Wine Shop, and Wines Online, with prices starting from $47. Whispering Angel, Rock Angel, Les Clans are available at two Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant Saint Pierre by the bottle; Garrus is available both by the bottle and by the glass.
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