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Monday, August 22, 2011

The Rosé Lifestyle of St. Tropez with Château D'Esclans!

Last month's installment of the "The Art of Wine & Food" series at the Museum of Art Ft. Lauderdale featured the delightful Provençal rosés of Château D'Esclans.  

For you rosé skeptics out there, let me assure you, these wines are nothing like the sickly sweet white zinfandel or blush wines you may have encountered. All of the evenings rosés were produced with “zero percent sugar” in the spirit of Provence, whose rosé wines are not sweet. The wines of Château D'Esclans hail from the Cotes de Provence appellation in southeast France, largely regarded as the "gold standard" for dry rosé production. 

Participants were led through the Château D'Esclans portfolio of four rosés by Paul Chevalier, National Fine Wine Director at Shaw-Ross International Importers. Accompanying the wines were delicious dishes created by Chef Remy Gautier of Argentelle Café and Catering that highlighted the nuances of each wine. 

The evening began with the 2010 Château D'Esclans "Whispering Angel" Rosé, so named for a sculpture of two whispering cherubs in the centuries old chapel located at the Château. A blend of 73% Grenache, 4% Rolle (aka Vermentino), 9% Cinsault, 8.5% Syrah and 5.5% Mourvedre, this wine is vinifed entirely in stainless steel to preserve the crisp, fresh flavors. The Whispering Angel is pale, crystalline pink in color with delicate aromas of berries and flavors of strawberry and spice. With its clean, mineral finish, this wine is very versatile and pairs nicely with a variety of cuisine including charcuterie, shellfish, BBQ or, frankly, nothing at all. Attendees enjoyed the "Whispering Angel" paired with Artichoke Tapenade on Garlic Toasted Baguette and Apricot with Goat Cheese, Pistachio & Dried Currants.

Second, was the 2010 Château D'Esclans "Esclans," the Château’s second label that marks the introduction of partial oak vinification to the wines. The "Esclans" is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Rolle from 30-80 year old vines that is partly vinified in stainless steel as well as demi muids which gives the wine more complexity and structure. The wine is light salmon in color with a lively bouquet of berries and spice. This rosé has a creamier mouthfeel and more persistent finish than the first, and features hints of dried cherry and white pepper. When pairing with food, the "Esclans" is also quite versatile and pairs well with cuisine including cheeses, shellfish, salads, and grilled tuna. Inspired by the South of France, Chef Remy created a Tuna Niçoise Salad in a Bite to pair with this selection. 

The 2009 Château D'Esclans "Les Clans" is the third wine of the portfolio and marks a distinct departure in the way rosé typically tastes. This wine bears a strong resemblance to a high-end white Burgundy with its buttery, mineral finish. "Les Clans" is made from 75% Grenache and 25% Rolle grapes that hail from 50-80 year old vines and are vinified in 600-liter demi-muids for 6 months using Burgundian style bâtonnage. The 2009 “Les Clans” has a remarkably elegant, creamy mouthfeel with hints of strawberry butter, freshly baked popovers and toasty oak, and a long, lingering finish. This wine is positively dreamy paired with richer seafood like scallops, lobster or even curry dishes. Chef Remy paired the wine beautifully with Sea Scallops Wrapped in Bacon and Curried Shrimp.

The pièce de résistance of the Château D'Esclans portolio is Garrus, an uncommonly elegant rosé noted for its creaminess and lush, mineral finish. With a limited production of only six barrels per vintage and retail price of $100 per bottle, this rosé is de rigeur among the über-yachts of the French Riviera. This wine is produced from 70% Grenache and 30% Rolle from 80 year old vines and is vinified in 600 liter demi-muids for 10 months using Burgundian-style bâttonage. The 2009 “Garrus” Côtes de Provence Rosé is rose petal pink in color with concentrated aromas of raspberry and spice followed by a creamy, rich expression of beautifully balanced fruit, minerality and oak. When pairing with food, do not be fooled by its color. This deliciously elegant rosé definitely requires a dish with some weight and complexity to it. Think succulent roasted pork, grilled lamb chops or even a savory mushroom dish. Attendees enjoyed the 2009 Garrus paired with a duo of lamb including delicious Lamb Kebabs and Risotto with Apricot and Lamb.

For more photos of the event, please check out the slide show to the right of this post. Also, please join us for our next event, "The Diversity of Australia" this coming Thursday, August 25th at the Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale. For more information, contact Gail Vilone at 954-262-0249 or



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