WHISPERING ANGEL 2014 - 18/20
With the revelatory 2013 vintage changing the trajectory of this wine, by drying out and lengthening the finish, the 2014 builds on this precision with a clean, mineral sharpness which brings tension to the soft, lush, red berry fruit. This crunch balances perfectly with the lovely, powder-puff texture and it increases the allure exponentially. The quantity of bottles made here has sky-rocketed of late but the quality continues to improve year on year – how many wineries can boast of this skill? Drink now – right now!
CHATEAU D'ESCLANS ROCK ANGEL 2014 - 18.5/20
The 2014 Château d’Esclans ‘estate’ release has been rewarded with a new edgy name – and it sure does rock! With 50% oak used to augment the Grenache, Rolle and Tibouren core this is a dense, structured rosé with a stern air of urgency and control. At no stage does the oak dominate but it gives Rock Angel a severity and edge which demands food and, this is the crux – Rock Angel is basically the Whisperer in a leather jacket astride a Triumph Speed Triple. The trademark freshness and crunch is there but this is a foodier version of Whispering Angel therefore you can expect more palate weight. While Rock Angel does not possess the level of finesse of Les Clans and Garrus it can cope with main courses of all shapes and sizes, so you should leave WA behind when the waiter arrives with your order and roar on in style.
LES CLANS 2014 - 19/20
The story of the vintage – this is the year when Les Clans comes alive. No longer is this wine the stop-gap between Whispering Angel and Garrus. In 2014 this is the first vintage that Les Clans shows its very own character clearly and without needing to reference the other two wines. It is brighter, more demonstrative and more flirtatious than the well-made and yet introverted 2013. The strawberry notes wear an irresistible touch of brioche like the most hypnotic pâtissier’s scent and the depth of flavour is astounding. Already approachable, with fabulous vivacity in every molecule, this is a wine which will develop in the bottle over the next 24 months, softening and integrating the raucous ‘white’ oak notes into the core of the blushing red berry fruit. Les Clans comes alive in 2014.
GARRUS 2014 - 19.5/20
I cannot believe that rosé wine can get any finer nor any more captivating than this wine. I have left a half a point off my score in order that owner / winemaker Sacha Lichine and his guru consultant Patrick Leon can one day prove me wrong, but this wine is, as far as I know (because it is inevitably breaking new ground), a perfect creation. The colour alone is exquisite – it seems to have a light filament inside, emitting a coral-coloured glow which manages to illuminate everything in its path. Garrus, made from 80+ year old vines (pictured), is a wine which treads an exquisite balancing act between awe-inspiring restraint and elegance and profound depth and unnerving power. There is spectacular density of fruit here coupled with insane length, but it is all done with heart-breaking control and finesse. Bottled only 5 weeks before my visit in late August, this is a wine which already knows how to carry itself. It is catwalk-ready and its momentum and cadence are thrilling. The oak is very sexy – I can’t think of more ravishing couture carpentry. I have no doubt that it will need another six months to a year to reach its peak of performance, but I can tell you that everyone who follows this wine will have hunted it down and secured it safely in their cellar long before this date. My advice is to buy it today and then make sure you are on allocation for the rest of your life. It’s worth noting that Sacha is partial to large formats, so if you are particularly thirsty or have a large band of elite rosé friends, who you like to spoil, then you ought to contact me directly on this website and I will let you know where you can find these rare beasts.