The exposure is south / south-west and the grape varieties growing here are Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle, Mourvedre and Syrah. The philpsopy of Sacha is to make the best rosé in the world and for this nothing has been spared.
Normally vineyards in Provence are planted with around 3-4000 vines per hectare but at Château d´Esclans the new plantings are made with a density of 6000 vines per hectares. This is also a factor that increases concentration and quality of the wine, and of course price (ranging from 15€ to 90€ a bottle)...
All grapes are hand harvested in small 10 kg plastic boxes; this is to avoid the grapes being crushed and aromatic fruit compounds evaporating. As we all know, it is very hot at harvest time (August/September) in this part of the world and heat is not good if your focus is to retain freshness and fruit flavours in the wine. This is why the grapes are only harvested in the morning when they are still fairly cool from the night.
Once in the cellar the grapes are sorted at three different sorting tables, at the last one there are 12 people sorting grape by grape to make sure that only the best grapes goes into the wine.The grapes are then lightly crunched before entering the press where the juice stays in contact with the skins for around 6-7 hours (this is what makes the wine pink). If one wish to make a darker rosé the time on the skins is simply extended.
Then we come to a very interesting part of the vinification, the fermentation. Normally it is done in stainless steel vats or cement vats for rosé but at Château d´Esclans it is made in 500 l French new oak barrels under temperature control. Since the temperature is very low the fermentation takes several months and during this time, the yeast sediment that are created, are stirred in the barrel to give richness and mouth feel to the wine.
The wines of Chateau d´Esclans are truly a different breed of Rosé in Provence. As Sasha says,´We have created a phenomenon in the region’ . The quality focus he has and also the high prices they charge have made other producers in the region realise what is possible and a trend that we can call Ultra-Premium Rosé of Provence is born much due to the vision and determination of Sasha Lichine.
There are four wines produced at the estate ranging from around 15€ for the Whispering Angel to around 90€ for the Garrus, depending on where you buy it.