Château et Caves d’Esclans wine tasting– Domaine Sacha Lichine

I got to start by telling that I’m not he biggest fan of rosé wines around, even with hot summer and beautiful days. A good dry white wine of a Gamay based red gives me what I need to be satisfied. But I’m open minded and ready to try new wines. With that in mind, I did attend to a tasting with Sacha Lichine who was there to present his wines from Le Château and Les Caves d’Esclans, his properties from Provence.

Sacha Lichine, who used to own the Château Prieuré-Lichine in Margaux (Bordeaux), is the one behind what we can call « high end rosé wines », a type of wine that wasn’t made before. Seeing that pink Champagne was popular in that luxury branch of the wine world, he thought about something that could play the same role for rosé. He went in 2006 in Provence with the intention of creating that new type of rosé. Were born the wines from Les Caves and Le Château d‘Esclans..

This Château have vineyards of old vines, pick manually, lower yields and wines are partly or mainly aged in oak barrels. Mr. Lichine also teams up with Patrick Leon who used to be winemaking Director of Château Mouton Rothschild. All that confirm the different approach of what usually done in Provence.

Not convinced about these « super rosé » at first, sommelier and restaurants quickly became charmed by Mr. Lichine wines. They did help getting the wines known to the amateur of rosé.

Here are some brief comments on the wines I’ve tasted that night with some technical details on each of them:

Château d’Esclans Déesse Astrée Côtes de Provence 2013

A white wine from a previously unknown grape variety for me, pairing bitterness, acidity and fine flavors of fruits. Really interresting.

Made of 100% Rolle (Vermentino), 90% juices coming of dripping and 10% from pressing the grapes. Aged in 600L oak barrels, new and 2 years old for 10 months. Alcohol level of 13,5%

Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel Côtes de Provence 2014

Lightly colored with aromas and flavors of water melon, strawberries, long but not concentrated finish. A fine rosé. From his negoce activity. Will produce 2,5 million bottles of this in 2015!

Made of Grenache, Rolle, Syrah and Cinsault. Alcohol level of 13%

Château d’Esclans Rock Angel Côtes de Provence 2014

Very light pink color, even lighter than the Whispering Angel. Aromas with finesse, red berries, flowers and a hint of vanilla. My favorite wines from what have been offered for its balance, flavors, the level of acidity and the gentle oak touch.

Made of Grenache and Rolle (Vermentino). Aged half in 600L oak barrels and in stainless tanks. Alcohol level of 14%

Château d’Esclans Les Clans Côtes de Provence 2013

More ambitious and complex, more depth and flavorful than the other wines, but still has the finesse. Flavors of spices, have the bitterness of greater wines, have the capacity to age few years in a cellar. Really felt like a great white wine. My second overall favorite.

Fruits coming from selected parcels of old vines of Grenache and Rolle. Aged 10 months on 600L oak barrels, 20% being new. Alcohol level of 14%

Château d’Esclans Garrus Côtes de Provence 2012

White colored, not really pink here. Creamy on the palate, light fruit flavors, classy and really different of what a rosé usually taste like, all in a good way. The ambition of a Grand Cru can be felt here. Ageing recommended.

Made from old vines of Grenache and Rolle, some having more than 80 years. 90% juices are coming of dripping and 10% from pressing the grapes. Aged in 600L oak barrels, new and 2 years old for 10 months. Alcohol level of 14%

Château d’Esclans Déesse Vin de Pays du Var 2011

Tasted after the rosé, it seems quite brutal with its dark color and austerity, but still gives black berries flavors, smoke and a masculine and manly chewiness. Less balanced than the rosé and less convincing too.

Blend of 65% Syrah, 23% Mourvèdre and 12% Merlot. Aged 6 months in new oak barrels. Alcohol level of 14%

Mission accomplished! Fine and beautiful rosé out of the standards of Provence wines I know of. Will not hesitate to have again wines from Le Château and Les Caves d’Esclan!

Château and Les Caves d’Esclans website:

The agency that represent’s them here in Québec (I’m thankful for the invite to this event):

Interview with Sacha Lichine from la Revue de France: Sacha Lichine, l’initiateur des vins rosés haut-de-gamme

Videoon le Château d’Esclans with owner Sacha Lichine