“In the Esclans valley angels whisper, if you drink this wine, you might hear them… if you visit us you might see them…”
Rosé wine is the popular choice for many in London during the summer months. Their refreshing and fruity qualities have recently given rosé the edge over crisper white wines: the seasonal wine of choice is not only enjoyed on its own but as a versatile pairing for summery foods.
Of all the rosé wines, arguably the most admired are the wines from Provence. Pale pink in colour, rosé wines take advantage of the excellent terroir from the elevation of the mountains which produces rich, ripe fruit from the warm climate. Provence is the only wine region to specialise in rosé, and most producers have invested heavily in mastering winemaking which is a technique very complex to get completely right.
Perhaps the most famous producer of all Provencal wines is Château d’Esclans, the winemaker responsible for the fashionable Whispering Angel. Located on elevated land near the Gorges de Pennafort, Château d’Esclans is situated where the majority of Provence AOC rosé is produced.
The man behind the brand, Sacha Lichine, originally grew up in Bordeaux. His illustrious career saw him working in every aspect in the wine industry, from production to final sale. However, it wasn’t until 2006 when Lichine acquired Château d’Esclans and went on to build a highly respected product, enthused by overwhelming passion for making and promoting great wine.
Such are their different expressions, the Château d’Esclans rosé wines are particularly agreeable with the light, delicate and often complex flavours of Cantonese cuisine and dim sum. From Whispering Angel, a wine perfectly matched with sweet, succulent crab, to the iconic Garrus, considered by some critics as one of the best rosés in the world, paired with crispy duck salad.
We spoke to the man behind the Château about his past, his passions and the production of some of the most well-respected rosés.
For someone who has travelled around the world a lot, where do you feel most at home?
“I have lived in Europe, the Americas and Asia, and I’ve had quality experiences in all of these parts of the world. However, the one place from which I have derived the greatest sense of comfort, warmth and familiarity is Barbados, a place I have visited regularly since being a small child.”
Who or what did you learn the most about wine from?
“Initially from my father, Alexis Lichine, followed by people and experiences throughout my life.”
You’ve worked in every aspect of the wine industry. Which do you enjoy the most?
“I have grown to appreciate working on and orchestrating details with various individuals involved in every aspect in the wine business from start to finish, but I enjoy sales the most: this is the ultimate step towards getting our wines to those who will appreciate it, and it plays an important role when it comes to making the wines the success they are. Sales is an artform, and, moreover, a people business.”
Why are Château d’Esclans wines so popular?
“When we started out in 2006, the range of four wines included Whispering Angel, Château d’Esclans (which is today Rock Angel), Les Clans and Garrus. Each of these wines served up unique propositions but were all produced by the same winemaker. There is an associative force in play when one sees and has a chance to taste all four wines together in that they realise they bear some resemblance to each other yet they each offer different experiences and varying levels of intensity. This is particularly important as it empowers a person to choose their preferred wine, while in the process learn about what is good, better and best (although this is subjective). This can all be achieved through our extraordinary range of wines, underpinning the notion that the person tasting needn’t look anywhere else when considering a rosé suited for what they need and want.”
What do you love about Whispering Angel?
“I love that people quickly grasp and appreciate the wine. Whispering Angel epitomises the best things that rosé has to offer: charm, style and pleasure, not to mention that it is a wonderful wine to enjoy, with a fabulous personality by virtue of its name and what that connotes.”
What do you love about Provence?
“The climate is wonderful; it is so friendly to grapes. The lifestyle of Provence epitomises pleasure. These characteristics go a long way towards establishing Château d’Esclans and Whispering Angel’s agreeable nature, which makes each and all of their our wines such a pleasure to enjoy.”
Find out more about Yauatcha’s Celebration of Rosé wine flight