At Château d’Esclans in La Motte in Provence in the Var, inspired by whispering angels, Sacha Lichine cultivates the excellence of luxury Rosés in an exceptional terroir with an historic heritage.
Château d’Esclans: a pioneer of premium and luxury Rosé, Sacha Lichine has produced the geatest Rosé in the world, with the sincerity of those who work with the heart. Like the mosaic that adorns the wall of the sumptuous tasting cellar at the historic Château, the wines of Château d’Esclans offer a mosaic of flavours, colours and emotions from Provence, for a feast for the senses and for sharing.
Inspired by Whispering Angels
“If you drink this wine, you may hear the angels. But if you come to Château d’Esclans, you will see them” the label on the back of the Château d’Esclans wines reads. A Bordeaux winegrower of Russian origin, Sacha Lichine sold the estate of his father Alexis Lichine, Château Prieuré-Lichine in the Gironde, a Margaux Grand Cru Classé, to acquire in 2006 a Château dating from the 18th century at the beginning of the Esclans valley in the hinterland of the Var, bearing witness to 2000 years of history.
In this terroir surrounded by forested hills to the north and bordered by the Pennafort Gorges – a mini Colorado Canyon – to the south, Sacha Lichine heard the murmurs of angels whispering a recipe for perfection. Inspired by his passion for wine and the chirping of the Bacchus’ Seraphim, he could only make divine nectars!
Luxurious Rosés and historic heritage
Château d’Esclans is a beautiful 18th century Tuscan-style mansion with blue shutters at the end of a majestic alley of two-century-old plane trees. Close to the Château you can see the stone bastide that housed the first vintages before their dazzling success extended the buildings up to the new underground cellars that will soon house the barrels in which the estate’s magnificent Rosés are matured. On the side of the Château, the private chapel is the “Saint of saints” where angels whisper Bacchus’ secrets to the ears of oenology enthusiasts.
The Rosé, a child of Provence
The first vines were brought by the Greeks when Marseille was founded 26 centuries ago. Rosé was the first wine made in antiquity on the sunny soils of Provence. A land of predilection for Rosé due to its climate, its terroirs, its grape varieties, Provence has always been favourable to the production of wines of this beautiful and soft colour. Through a selection of grape varieties, a strategy in cultivation methods, and major investments in the cellars, the winegrowers of the region have made Rosé the leader in their production. Exported worldwide, and increasingly tasted on the epicurean planet, Rosé goes well along with all cuisines, all cultures and all atmospheres.
And Rosé became irresistible!
Convivial and festive, frivolous and dissipated, playful as well as gastronomic, Rosé has become a trendy groundswell that is sweeping the world. In 2019, France will maintain its position as by far the leader in the production and consumption of Rosé wines. France represents nearly 31% of world production and 35% of world consumption. However, with consumption on the rise, the Rosé wine market is becoming increasingly international. With a production of 4 million bottles, Château d’Esclans Rosés represent some 6.5% of the total production of the Côtes de Provence, which find in the United States – a market in full expansion – many palates that are fond of their qualities.
An exceptional terroir and heritage
Advocating the authenticity of an exceptional terroir and enhancing the estate’s rich heritage, Sacha Lichine, associated with Patrick Léon (former oenologist at Mouton Rotschild) and later his son Bertrand Léon, as well as the cellar master Jean-Claude Neu, deliberately opted to produce only Rosé wines. The “dream team” has forged a palette of top-of-the-range and luxurious rosés, designed to both enliven a festive zenitude as well as sublimate the pleasures of a gastronomic table. This exceptional success is due to the application to Rosé wines of the techniques traditionally used in Bordeaux and Burgundy, such as maturing in oak barrels or “batonnage”, as well as the use of the most sophisticated oenological techniques.
Refreshing with happiness
Bathed in sunshine, Château d’Esclans boasts both the cool, wet, clayey terroir of the Esclans Valley, where young vines enjoy the sunshine, and the hills where older vines, for over a century, have been drawing their nutrients and aromas from the depths of a more mineral terroir. The fruit born on these nourishing lands is quickly harvested before dawn, preserved from oxidation and cold pressed after optical laser sorting to keep only the best of the grapes. The juices are then put either in stainless steel vats or in oak barrels under inert gas (nitrogen) for cold fermentation. The most prestigious wines are aged in semi-toasted oak barrels, under closely controlled temperature by cold pipes plunging into the barrels. The nectars produced in this way are finally bottled under inert gas as well.
The Angels are whispering the Art of Living
The Château d’Esclans Rosé range opens with a fresh and fruity Rosé, perfect for a festive aperitif: The Palm by Whispering Angels, boasting a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan, the traditional grape varieties of Provence. The Vermentino (Rolle) makes its appearance in the Whispering Angels cuvée, which, under its pale salmon colour, has become the glamorous star of Rosés in the world. Its finely aromatic structure serves a silky and mineral palate. Made from the same blend, the Rock Angel includes a part of barrel-matured wine, which gives it a more pronounced smoothness and complexity.
Great wines with a light colour
Harvested from the best parcels of the Château, from the Grenache and Rolle grape varieties – the king cepage for Whites in Provence – the grapes from old vines, carefully sorted, provide a juice that is vinified and aged in semi-toasted oak barrels. This fermentation in barrels brings an ample dimension to the wines, refines and softens their tannins for a gourmande, complex, aromatic mouthfeel, and, while favouring their freshness, the Rosé gains in “gras”. Château d’Esclans and Les Clans are two great wines whose colour is brightened by Rolle (Vermentino). Les Clans gently ferments for ten months in new and second year 600-litre barrels.
The Garrus, greatest Rosé in the world
In 2006, Sacha Lichine introduced the world to its most emblematic cuvée, the Garrus, whose name comes from the “garennes” in the hills where the rabbits frolic. On the heights of the estate, almost century-old vines – Grenache, Vermentino and Syrah – produce grapes that are exalting the full expression of the terroir and its character. The Garrus is made from 90% free-run juice (drained from the grapes without being pressed) and 10% berries gently pressed at 7-8° C to avoid contact with oxygen. The Rosé is vinified for ten months in new and second year oak barrels and regularly “batonné”. This ageing gives it a woody expression turned towards elegance and delicacy, with a nose of peach, white berries and orange blossom. The Garrus cuvée is considered by many experts to be the greatest Rosé in the world!
Participation of the LVMH Group
Since the acquisition of the 260 ha estate, of which 44 ha are in production, Sacha Lichine has continuously expanded the production areas. Given the success of his Rosés, the visionary winemaker rented the Coopérative de La Motte to vinify his wines, before recently acquiring the nearby Domaine Grands Esclans. Finally, maturing top-quality wines requires colossal investments, hence the LVMH Group‘s participation, at the end of 2019, in the expansion of Château d’Esclans.
Boutique and visit of the estate
The tasting cellar of Château d’Esclans presents – in addition to the estate’s superb vintages – a wide range of “grands crus classés” from Bordeaux and Burdundy, Champagnes and primeur wines. During the summer season (1st May to 30th September), the shop is open 7 days a week from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Out of season (1st October to 30th April) the boutique is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm from Monday to Thursday and until 7:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and closed on Sundays.
A special visit with wine tasting is possible on request with reservation required; a way to see the angels when whispering spiritual murmurs.
Château d’Esclans, Inspired by Angels in pictures
Click on pictures to enlarge – ©YesICannes.com – All rights reserved