Whispering Angel Rosé 2022, Château d'Esclans
We are delighted to be the first UK merchant to offer Sacha Lichine's amazing new Whispering Angel Rosé 2022 in bottle format. The wine has just arrived from Chateau d'Esclans, also there is a new case design for this vintage and the brand is now owned by LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton).
Matthew Jukes First Taste:
"There are precious few annual wine ‘moments’ left in our beautiful business. Beaujolais Nouveau day is an actual annual event with its very own date. The third Thursday of November has always been the day this wine goes on sale, and a couple of brave stalwarts continue raising a glass. It might be clinging on by its fingernails, but it has more integrity than the multiple grape variety ‘days’ that have faked their way into existence. The annual Penfolds Collection launch yoyos around the calendar, and even Bordeaux’s En Primeur circus tries, but usually fails, to hit the same week each year. Still, one day that has become a fixture in my diary is the new release of Whispering Angel – without fail my sample arrives on the 9th January each year!
As you will be well aware, this Pink Titan sells like hotcakes, and in vintages gone by, it has been released on strict allocation such is the demand. Of course, production has increased significantly to slake the world’s elite rosé palate, but there seems to be no end in sight for the desire that committed rosé drinkers have for this pioneering wine.
I have faith that the quality of the wine will not dip, lag or wallow and in past vintages, even with an ever-increasing order book, the flair and deliciousness have actually increased!
So with the world waiting with ice bucket and glass in hand, how good is the first taste of 2022 Whispering Angel?
I am relieved to report that the unbroken run of excellence is still intact, but there is more. This is the first vintage of Whippy that actually seems actively youthful and taut. While it normally hits the ground running, with pliable fruit and welcoming freshness, this crisp, expressive wine is firm, tense, energetic and utterly ravishing. The rose petal nose, melon flesh silkiness and grapefruit acidity are all in place, and they are layered, glisteningly attractive and immediately impressive, but this 2022 vintage is different from previous vintages because it nips in on the finish promising more drama as it relaxes and billows over the next six months.
So, take it from me, that while this is already a cracker, I know that come May, right on cue, it will have even more glamour and allure on the nose, palate and finish!
This is the very first time I have added a ‘+’ to my score below because this is the symbol I use, across all of my wine writing, to indicate that a wine will improve and evolve with age! Who would have thought that Whispering Angel would be such a wine?"
Matthew Jukes 18+/20
Quotes from previous vintages-
“Chewy and mouthwatering”
“Very clear and clean and will gain flavours during the year”
“You could drink it from mid-day to midnight”
“It’s hard to find fault with this sensational rosé”
About Château d’Esclans
Chateau d’Esclans is located on an exceptional site, on elevated land near the Gorges de Pennafort, twenty five kilometers northwest of the ancient Roman city of Frejus on the Mediterranean coast. 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.
Château d’Esclans lies in the center of the Department of the Var, where the majority of Provence AOC rosé is produced. The land was occupied as long as 2500 years ago when it was probably used as a lookout point for intruders sailing into the Gulf of Frejus. The original château—of which now only the cellar remains—dates back to before the 12th century. In 1201, Gérard De Villeneuve, part of a wealthy family from Marseille, took ownership of the château and the majority of the surface area of the Vallée d’Esclans that would eventually be sold off in lots. Two brothers, Sauver Louis Ranque and Francois Alexandre Ranque, were the next to own the château, known then as Terre d’Esclans.
In 1875, they sold the property to Joseph Toussaint Caussemille, who manufactured wooden matches near Marseilles. In 1955, the Perraud family owned the property until 1994. At that time, it was purchased by a Swedish pension fund that produced a small amount of wine and the remaining grapes were sold to neighboring winemakers. Sacha Lichine aquired Château d’Esclans in 2006. Today there are 108 acres (44 ha) of vineyards. The total proprety has 659 acres (267 ha).
The primary grape grown on the property is Grenache followed by Vermentino. Other grapes include Cinsault, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Tibouren. The château is known for its old Grenache vines which produce grapes that offer greater concentration of flavor than do the younger vines. As the elevation to where the lots are situated increases, so do the age of the vines. At the highest elevated lot vines are as old as 90 years.