Chateau d’Esclan’s Angels

Rosé is dangerous isn’t it, for something the same percentage as ordinary wine it goes down alarmingly fast. And funnily enough it gets you just as burritoed as the same quantities of red wine would, but you would never drink that much red wine because you would turn into a burgundy coloured cushion, mouth as dry as a badgers behind. I’ve come out with some terrible sentences while pissed on the pink stuff, it makes me far too friendly and frankly, I really ought to know better by now. And yet, I can’t recall a bad rosé hangover, so no matter how badly I’ve behaved, I seem to keep going back for more.

I realised I never actually posted the reviews of Rock Angel and Whispering Angel rosé, so before the next heat wave (fingers crossed)…here’s what I thought…

Let me start by explaining that I’m a sucker for a good bit of marketing and boy oh boy have Whispering Angel put themselves out there. I’m not even sure how they’ve done it, but in June, if a Made in Chelsea star was drinking something pink, it was Whispering Angel. If you spotted a couple on a romantic date in London, wine in a cooler, cigarettes turning to embers, chances are that bottle was Whispering Angel too. It’s been everywhere, EVERYWHERE! Except Waitrose, where it was meant to be, and that’s because everyone else had already bloody bought it.

(I should mention that I was led to believe Jancis Robinson was also a big fan, but I have since noticed that her review is out of date and she is not best pleased to be quoted for the most recent vintages.)

Whispering Angel and Rock Angel are offspring of Chateau d’Esclans, described as a magical estate in the heart of Provence.

“The first traces of the chateau’s site date back to Gaullist times during which its location served as a lookout point to spot intruders coming by boat into the Gulf of Frejus. The chateau’s cellar structure or foundation (known today as the oldest in the region) housed an original Chateau that was given by the Comte de Provence to Gérard De Villeneuve, in 1201. The current chateau, inspired by Tuscan Villa design, was built during the mid 19th century.”

Until I researched into the name further, I excitedly thought that Sacha Lichine, the leader of the Chateau d’Esclans, was a woman but it is in fact a man and rumour has it this Sacha is to blame for the rise of the St Tropez pale rosé lifestyle. Sacha was born in Bordeaux, but educated in the U.S. After an education and vocation in the wine industry, Sacha’s turning point was acquiring Chateau d’Esclans in Provence in 2006. He saw the future of rosé as pale, classy and feeling like you’d made it and thus, his world class brand was born. The wines include Whispering Angel, Chateau d’Esclans Rock Angel, Chateau d’Esclans Les Clans and Chateau d’Esclans Garrus. My bank balance could only manage Rock Angel and Whispering Angel this time, but maybe in the future I’ll get my paws on some Les Clans.

Whispering Angel Rosé 2017, 13%, Dry, £17.99

At £17.99 I expected nothing short of fabulous. Frankly, it was interesting but after recently drinking Berry Bros. and Rudd perfectly good rosé this didn’t wow my socks off. It’s elegance verged on shy. In fact I would describe the whole wine as shy, a bit like when one is waiting for a sneeze and it never comes, it just teases. However, on a particularly steaming hot day in the Great British summer we’ve had, the simplicity is sort of perfect, it is both refreshing and light enough to drink while playing tennis without getting a banging headache.

Chateau d’Esclans Rock Angel 2017, 14%, £32.95

For a fair test, I tried both on the same evening. Shall I indulge you in what I was eating? I cooked Moules Marinières to begin and followed it up with barbequed whole seabass that I served on top of a variety of Mediterranean vegetables. It was delicious if I say so myself. I was a bit nervous about the fish but I’m glad I just went for it, it was just so tasty and for a moment I felt like I was alongside the sea in Ibiza, not in dear old Rutland.

Anyway, Rock Angel, extortionate at £32.95 but it’s worth it (on pay day when you’re feeling rich.) As pink plonk goes this is refined, rich but soft, fruity but dry, it’s a work of art. It has that delicious minerality you find in the cooler region whites (I’ve made that up a little.) It’s what I like to call pebbley, but so so pale you really wonder how it’s a rosé at all. Delicious.

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