Why pink wine is coming up rosé

Pamper yourself with one of the new generation of super luxurious pink wines

By David Williams

Château d’Esclans Garrus, Côtes de Provence 2021 (£120.50, clos19.com)
The irresistible rise of cult rosé estate Château d’Eslcans is one of the more remarkable stories in wine in recent years. When the man behind it, Sacha Lichine, the French-American son of the Russian émigré wine writer and Bordeaux estate proprietor Alexis Lichine, set up shop in Provence in 2006, his plan to make “fine” rosé looked to many like an act of folie de grandeur. Pink wine, after all, was seen as something pleasantly refreshing but essentially simple for sipping on hot summer days, a style that no serious oenophile could possibly compare to the best examples of red or white. Lichine’s top wine Garrus was the startling challenge to this conventional wisdom. Made from a mix of old-vine red grenache and the white vermentino using techniques more akin to the top white wines of Burgundy (it’s fermented and aged in oak rather than the stainless steel of most pink wine), its resistible price tag makes you want to hate it. But the latest, luxuriously silky, spicy-toasty vintage has a kind of graceful power that is intensely alluring.

The Beach by Whispering Angel, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France 2022 (from £16.50, Morrisons, Tesco, Waitrose, Majestic)

The audacious Garrus was the canny Lichine’s way of persuading wine critics to ditch their preconceptions about rosé and get them to talk about his nascent project. But the name which catapulted the estate to a level of fame that is exceptionally unusual for a wine brand was Whispering Angel. When I visited d’Esclans in September, its glitzy boutique was busy with impeccably dressed wealthy young things taking a break from their holidays on the nearby Côte d’Azur to make a pilgrimage to the home of Adele, Victoria Beckham and Malia Obama’s favourite wine. What is it about Whispering Angel that has made it such a rapid success, growing from about 130,000 bottles in its first vintage in 2006 to more than 1m 12-bottle cases today? A mix of astute marketing and good luck is part of the story; but tasting the latest 2022 vintage of both the main Whispering Angel (£20, widely available) and the, in my opinion, much better-value spin-off The Beach, I was struck by how effectively they deliver the soft-focus strawberry-and-cream, melon and gentle citrus freshness that is the hallmark of good Provence rosé.

Prime Time for Pink: Rosés for Summer 2023

Rosé is an all year round wine, but everyone knows that rosés become more irresistible in summer. So, glasses at the ready for this year’s seasonal round-up of new wines and new vintages.

To repeat a few things I said last year: rosés aren’t only for the aperitif or poolside slots. They often make very good food wines, not least with the sort of dishes you might be having in warm weather – grilled and barbecued fish, seafood, charcuterie, salads, vegetable tarts, chicken dishes, pasta and picnic fare.

All wines need to be kept out of sunlight to avoid spoilage by light strike (does what it says on the tin) but rosés are often more vulnerable, above all when they’re in clear glass bottles. Ideally, we’d have dark, opaque wine glasses, but that’s a step too far.

Pink wines should be served chilled and then kept cold while you make further inroads into the bottle, box or pouch. Wine cooler sleeves kept in the freezer or ice box are invaluable for bottles. Chilling your glass by swirling a couple of ice cubes round it before you start is another good move when the sun is beating down. If your wine does end up too warm, you can always resort to an ice cube lobbed into the liquid itself.

This year I’m kicking off my recommendations with three wines in sustainable packaging. These are all the more relevant and praiseworthy in the context of rosé when so many, especially from Provence, come in absurdly heavy glass bottles.

I’ve given empty bottle weights at the end of each tasting note when I have them – and I can tell you there are some shockers. I’m sorry to say that three of my top-scoring wines are the worst offenders by a long way. If Chanel (yes, that Chanel) can put its Domaine de L’Ile rosé, my other top scoring wine, in a bottle weighing only 409g, others could too. When will they wake up to the harm they’re doing?

After the sustainably packaged trio, the order is in ascending order of price. Two Tavel rosés I really wanted to recommend, Domaine Maby La Forcadière (Yapp Brothers) and Arbousset rosé (Tesco), have fallen by the wayside because they have moved on to 2022 from the 2021 vintage I tasted. I’m sure the new vintages will be worth a try. There’s also a lack of English rosés (my fault).

A score of 93 is equivalent to a gold medal; 89–92 is silver; 85–88 is bronze.

Whispering Angel 2022, Côtes de Provence, France

This was very tight-lipped when I tasted it at the beginning of the year, but has now relaxed into flowing, floral, red fruit and vanilla-patisserie aromas and apricot and red apple on the palate. Lemon, elegantly bitter grapefruit rind and salinity provide and structure and freshness. Another impressive, appealing Whispering Angel. 13%. 596g.


Widely available at £15.95–£19.99. Half bottles and magnums available from Majestic and Waitrose


Château d’Esclans 2021, Côtes de Provence, France


Scented summer-garden nose with an inviting hint of juniper berry. Rich, pure fruit on the palate with discreet, toasted vanilla and oak, a silky texture and fine acidity. Elegantly shaped and well-balanced. Primarily Grenache and Rolle (Vermentino) vinified in a combination of 600-litre oak barrels and stainless steel. 13.5%. 978g – ouch!



£44.95, Cellar Door Wines; £49.99; Harrogate Wines; £52.80, Hedonism

Château d’Esclans Les Clans 2021, Côtes de Provence, France


Mainly free-run juice from 50-plus year old Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino) and Syrah, fermented and aged for 10 months, with bâtonnage, in 600-litre oak barrels (one and two year old). The oak is still quite pronounced on both nose and palate, but not so that it overwhelms the floral, apricot and raspberry fruit, the creamy, close-textured richness, citrus sweetness and core of acidity. It will be better in a year, but is already a serious fine wine when given time to breathe in the glass. A good match for lobster and rich seafood dishes, vitello tonnato and pork ragù with capers. 14%. 975g –ouch again!



£69.95, Cellar Door Wines; £70.80, Hedonism; £79, Fraziers Wine Merchants, £88, Tannico UK

Château d’Esclans Garrus 2021, Côtes de Provence, France


I tasted this at 8ºC and 12ºC and then drank it at 12º+C. By all means serve it cooler if you like, but the higher temperature allows this young, tightly wound, oak-fermented and matured rosé to uncoil and express itself. And you’ll want to let it do that because it’s an exceptional wine: reminiscent of white Burgundy in its hazelnut and mineral aromas, buttery taste and silky texture, but with added orange pomander, exotic spice and incense. It’s intense, complex, powerful and balanced with an impeccable interplay of fruit, acidity and oak. Designed to go with food – lobster, salmon, pork, veal, lamb chops, savoury dishes in cream sauce and so on. Drink from now to 2033, if stored in cellar conditions. 14.5%. 979g – and ouch yet again!



£99.90, Vinatis UK; £119 (in any 6-bottle mix), Majestic; £120, Clos19; £124.95, Master or Malt; £125, Woodwinters; £125, Cellar Door Wines; £129.95, Secret Bottle Shop; £160, Hedonism; see wine-searcher.com for more stockists.

The 9 Best Wines to Drink on Your Yacht This Summer

The bottles you want when you’re having fun on the water.

By Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen

Whether you are out for the day on a friend’s boat or are enjoying summer in Nice or Cannes in your own floating home, it’s important to liven up the overwater party with a few special bottles of wine. If you’re hitting hotspots on land in the evenings your options are often limited, so it’s fun to combine a mix of easy-to-find bottles with under the radar selections when you’re back on board.

Bubbles add to the festive atmosphere of being on a boat, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same Champagne brands you’ll find in every port. Think outside the box and seek out sparklers from other regions such as California or northern Italy. You are always going to have one lover of oaky Chardonnay on hand; however, offering a lighter, aromatic white as well will keep everyone happy. No yachting excursion, be it for a few hours or the whole season, is complete without at least one rosé (or two) from the Côtes de Provence in the south of France. And while hot days on the water call for well-chilled whites, rosés, and bubbles, when the sun dips below the horizon and your sun-kissed skin begins to cool down, a couple of red wine choices will be appreciated by all, either poured on their own after time ashore or alongside an elegant alfresco dinner on the open deck.

Here are three bottles of bubbles, two whites, two rosés, and two reds to look out for the next time you are stocking up for some time on a yacht.

This ever-so-pale-pink rosé is a blend of Grenache, Vermentino, and Syrah and is made mostly from free run juice with no maceration. It is aged in 600-liter barrels for about ten months and undergoes battonage, or stirring of the lees, twice a week. It was first made by Sacha Lichine in 2006 and this 2019 is drinking perfectly right now, especially from a three-liter double magnum bottle, which is the perfect size to share with friends on your yacht.  It has aromas of strawberry, orange peel, and grapefruit pith. It is full bodied with elegant mouthfeel and flavors of red fruits, citrus blossom, and a touch of white pepper in the finish. Available in 750 ml, 1.5 liter, or 3-liter format.

Maternal Love: the inspiration for the third edition of chiles en nogada at Carmela & Sal, Chef Gaby Ruiz’s restaurant

By Yohann Castaing

Rosé wines have such strong seasonal connotations, inextricably associated with summer meals and social gatherings around a pool, that wine enthusiasts tend to dismiss them as less interesting and less serious. It so happens that this is an attitude that seems to be shared by many a winemaker. After requesting samples of current releases for this appraisal, I was surprised to discover that a significant number of well-known producers have chosen to concentrate on making simple, fruit-driven reds instead of rosés. A typical explanation was, “Why bother trying to compete with the pale and often bland rosés of Provence that enjoy such commercial success and are produced in such large volumes with such low overheads?”

Such an attitude might seem surprising, given the tremendous commercial success that rosé wines enjoy in markets around the world. In the eyes of many, rosés—which exist in a wide range of hues and styles—are ideal for uncritical enjoyment, and the category is booming. The rosés of Provence have undeniably reaped the rewards. Alas, easy-drinking and easygoing selling points do not always coincide with the pursuit of excellence. Many contemporary rosés from Provence are so pale that they might almost be mistaken for white wines. Too many producers even seem to have settled for releasing wines to be casually enjoyed with simple summer culinary fare while giving up any ambition for producing characterful wines expressing terroir.

Fortunately, there remains a contingent of wine producers resisting the temptation to simply milk the cash cow. They work hard to produce rosé wines of a singular style, be it thanks to their choice of grape variety or winemaking technique, that express a sense of place and have layers of flavor and texture.

In the selection of wines presented here from the diverse regions that I cover for The Wine Advocate, including but not limited to Provence, I have focused on rosé wines that express a distinctive character and identity intimately linked to their place of origin, but ones that are also capable of enhancing both simple and more complex dishes or even of being enjoyed on their own for their compelling style. Some of them will even improve with age. I have chosen to ignore those interchangeable and somewhat insipid rosés that may certainly be eminently quaffable but which are just as quickly forgotten.

A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Rolle, the 2022 Cotes de Provence Rose Whispering Angel reveals aromas of peach, grapefruit, lemon, red berries and spices. Light to medium-bodied, elegant and fresh, tense and juicy, it’s pure and clean with a mouthwatering, elegant finish.

The 2021 Cotes de Provence Rose Les Clans, matured for 11 months in 600-liter barrels (new and old), derives from old vines (50-55 years of age) planted on gravel-calcareous soils. It reveals a complex, dense bouquet with aromas of vanilla, spices, peach, iodine, crushed stones, rose and raspberry, followed by a medium to full-bodied, seamless palate endowed with impressive texture, racy acids and a refreshing yet long finish. It’s the most complex, racy, gastronomic wine in the Château d’Esclans range. 93 Points

Château d’Esclans’s premium cuvée, the 2021 Cotes de Provence Rose Garrus, which was matured in French new oak, bursts from the glass with aromas of pear, grapefruit, vanilla, spices, lime, red berries and thyme flowers. Medium to full-bodied, layered and textured, ripe and round, it’s built around racy acids and a seamless palate. This vintage can be approached with pleasure even if it has 3-5 years of evolution ahead of it. 92 Points

ANNIVERSARY 10th PINK DAY festival: you can enjoy pink wines on April 22 at Lauba: a house for people and art (and wine)

PINK DAY Zagreb – a festival dedicated to rosé – celebrates a significant jubilee this year, its tenth edition! At the media conference held in Lauba, the festival program was presented, and the founder and president of the Festival, journalist, editor and publicist Sanja Muzaferija , said on that occasion:

PINK DAY Zagreb, apart from being a rosé festival, is also a kind of dedication to female energy, spring and the beauty of life; the ceremony of a rosy view of a perhaps slightly better world that we all hope for. And rosé is exactly that: bright, fluffy – and the right choice for hot summer days. During the last ten years, the Festival has promoted moderate, feminine consumption of wine, and according to the winemakers themselves, PINK DAY Zagreb significantly helped to change the attitude towards rosé, and thus the Croatian wine list. I am proud that we contributed to rosé as a light and spring wine gaining a completely new and much better reputation than it had before us. Of course, there is also our Green in Pink  which celebrates top domestic extra virgin olive oils, and since last year we also have pink gins, tonics, liqueurs, cocktails…

Celebrating the big, jubilee of the “small” boutique festival , which after Vinistra and VinoCom is also the oldest major wine festival in Croatia, PINK DAY prepared this year the richest program so far, and everything started celebratoryly at the press conference – with welcome sparkling wine: Griffin Rosé, Bedekovich Rosé EKO 2017 and Tomšić Evelin, 2021. After the official part, the presentation of the wines of Brdovita Hrvatska was led by the distinguished sommelier Mario Meštrović, who presented 5 pink wines colors of that region: Dvanajšćak Kozol rosé 2022; Winery Puhelek Rosé 2022; Griffin Ivančić Ambassador rosé 2022; Bedekovich Prigora rosé Eko 2021; Vinarija Miklažić Rosé 2021. The president of the association Bregovita Hrvatska, which includes the vineyards of Moslavina, Prigorje and Bilogora, Zagorje and Međimurja, Plešivice and Pokuplje, Josip Tržec, said on that occasion:

Behind the excellent wines of Bregovita Hrvatska are hardworking people, winemakers and their families. Many of them continue the long-standing family tradition, but at the same time explore new ways of modern winemaking. Bregovita Hrvatska offers a variety of wines for every taste and for every occasion. It is characterized by a colorful wealth of varieties, styles and shades of wine. At today’s workshop and at the Festival, it will be possible to taste selected rosé wines and sparkling wines from Bregovita Hrvatska.

The PINK DAY Zagreb celebration continues on Tuesday , April 18 , in the only restaurant in Zagreb with a Michelin star, Noel, where the Chateau d’Esclans rosé wine Masterclass ” Pinks That Made Historypowered by PBZ Card Premium Visa will be held and will be led by Ted Lelekas, Moet Hennessy brand ambassador. Tasting will be from top quality Riedel glasses. Then on April 20 , on the occasion of the jubilee, in the legendary Zagreb restaurant Skenderica 1912 by Catering Lisak – a festive “Dinner in Pink” will be heldwith selected wines from the Festival: Villa Sandi Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato, Rosé Bastiàn, Rizman Rusula and Aura liqueurs.


April 18, 2023 – PRAGUE – The Wine Prague 2023 trade fair, the largest professional wine event in the Czech Republic, will take place at the PVA EXPO PRAGUE exhibition center in Letňany from May 16 to 17. Traditionally, many exhibitors from the Czech Republic and abroad will be waiting for the visitors.

This year, the fair is awaiting interesting news that will be an attractive diversion for visitors, but at the same time it also builds on cooperation with traditional partners. “Of course, we cooperate with a very important professional professional organization in our country, i.e. the Association of Sommeliers of the Czech Republic, which will have its own program at the fair. This year too, visitors will have access to Czech glass of the highest world quality for wine tasting. The partner of the fair is the Květná 1794 glassworks for the second time, thanks to which the participants will be able to taste several types of high-quality glasses intended for different styles of wines. We have newly partnered with the very prestigious San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna mineral waters, which will be available during all organized tastings for winemakers and other exhibitors, as well as for purchase by trade fair visitors,
The essential novelty of this year’s fair will be a special tasting zone located right in the main hall, where a number of extremely interesting presentations, seminars and masterclasses will take place. We can already mention, for example, two tastings organized by the National Wine Center on the topic of important domestic varieties under the baton of national sommelier Klára Kollárová, as well as the presentation of the most prestigious still wines from the LVMH portfolio as well as top rosé from Provence from the world-famous Château d’Esclans.

The Wine Awards by Cosmo Middle East and MMI Dubai: Meet the Judges

Get ready for our Wine Awards winners coming out today

By Sara Alhumiri

The reveal of the winners for The Wine Awards by Cosmo Middle East and MMI Dubai is fast approaching. Just in time for the weekend on 3rd March, you’ll find out what some of the best whites, reds, and sparkling drinks are, judged by none other than the region’s leading wine connoisseurs.

At the beginning of this year, it was announced that Dubai would be dropping its 30% alcohol tax, as well as the fee tourists and expats previously had to pay for a license to buy alcohol from stores to drink in private. So it looks like it’s happy hour, every hour 🍷.

We’re bringing you 60 wines, 19 categories, and 4 judges to give you ~all~ the wine inspo you’ll never need. Not only do our judges really, really like wine (obvs,) they’ve even blind tasted the best-selling wines so there’s no bias here, ppl!

Tony Dodds

General Manager of Wine and Champagne at MMI 

Tony Dodds is MMI’s wine aficionado with almost 4 decades of experience in the wine industry. After graduating college, Tony worked at the prestigious Gleneagles as a waiter and junior somm, then spent 10 years in Bermuda as a sommelier and maître d’. He went back to the UK to gain his WSET Diploma, winning a scholarship and worked for 3 different wine merchants and wholesalers before moving to MMI Dubai in 2006.

The moment you knew you wanted a career in wine? 

Early on, working as a junior sommelier, being tasked to learn something new about a specific wine I’d served each night after service, really grabbed my interest.

Favourite rose…

Again too many to pick one, I really enjoy Turkey Flat or De Bortoli’s Rose Rose from Australia, and from Provence, I‘m very happy to sip Rock Angel or Garrus from Chateau d’Esclans.

Born in Bordeaux in 1960 and educated in the US, Sacha Lichine has worked in every discipline of the wine industry, from production to final sales. He started running Château Prieuré Lichine in 1987, and bought Provence estate Château d’Esclans in 2006. Since then, he has created Whispering Angel, Rock Angel and Château d’Esclans.

What or who inspired you to become a winemaker?

Growing up in the business and spending the summers of my youth at Château Prieuré Lichine and Château Lascombes instilled a sense of passion that inspired me to build my professional career. Having the opportunity to learn about wine this way and under the influence of my father, Alexis Lichine, made wine a way of life. This was enhanced through working in the vineyards.

What’s your favourite part of the job?
Knowing how to make wine and how to sell it. There are few who know how to do both. Creating a beautiful, noble product and having the opportunity to enjoy it. To drink what you make and make what you drink.

What’s the hardest part?
Dealing with unknowns. As an agricultural product, all of the climatic risks are nerve-wracking. From a business perspective, as you
are dealing with a luxury product, the hardest part is paying attention to an accumulation of detail that has to be closely monitored, making it critical to never miss a beat on a plethora of fronts.
What’s your go-to drink at the end of a long day?
Either a Bombay Sapphire Martini “up”, shaken with olives, or our rosés, or a glass of French or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Make sure that you start as early, from the youngest legal age as you can, drinking quality. Buy a corkscrew, travel and never stop
learning. A great expression that my father had, which has been a guiding mantra in my life, is not to follow trends, but to start them.
Which wine-related achievement are you most proud of?
Creating a category relative to giving rosé the distinction of handily capturing new consumers and outpacing change in the contemporary wine landscape.

Who is your inspiration in the wine world today?
It’s a multitude of people. Beginning with my father, Alexis Lichine; Mel Dick, president of the wine division of Southern Glazer’s
Wine & Spirits, Michel Rolland, Jim Allen, a mentor and former senior vice-president at Southern Glazer’s, the late Patrick Léon, my former consulting oenologist, with whom I created the Château d’Esclans range, followed by his son, Bertrand Léon, who has been my technical director for more than a decade. Beyond that there is also a select group of many others.

‘A great expression that my father had, which has been a guiding mantra in my life, is not to follow trends, but to start them’

Where would your fantasy vineyard be?
On the sea overlooking a beautiful, swimmable beach, with great terroir.
Which wine (grape/style) do you find it impossible to get along with?
Red wine over 14% ABV that’s over-concentrated, overextracted, unbalanced and gives little pleasure. It is like putting a Shetland sweater in your mouth. No thank you.
How have your wine tastes changed over your career?
They haven’t changed, but evolved. I love the great wines of the world.

Internet blasts Gordon Ramsay over £8 chips at London restaurant

By Christian Smith

He may be one of the most well-known chefs in the world, but Gordon Ramsay isn’t immune to criticism, particularly when it comes to prices. And customers left reviews blasting the £8 fries at Ramsay’s Savoy Grill restaurant in Central London.

Yes, in a city where paying £7 for a pint has become the depressing norm and the notion of ‘buying a flat’ is more often the punchline to a tepid night’s standup comedy than a trip to Foxton’s, shelling out over the odds is a daily occurrence.

And yet, even Londoners retain the ability to be shocked by prices of seekingly innocuous items. Like chips. Specifically, the chips at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill restaurant, if the Trip Advisor reviews are anything to go by.

Taking exception to both the price and quality of their fries, one customer wrote, “The chips were very disappointing. Not hand cut or triple cooked as you’d expect from this place, but regular and frankly, tasteless frozen chips.”

Another diner added, “We had to pay £16 for two portions of chips which is madness really.”

Prices at the Savoy Grill range between £32-£100 for mains, while a selection of side dishes are all priced at £8. Puddings range between £16-£18.

The wine list is a stonking 42 pages-long, and includes Champagnes from Dom Pérignon and Krug among its offering, as well as by-the-glass serves of Château d’Esclans Garrus for rosé and a Château d’Yquem Sauternes among its sweet wines by-the-glass.

Top 10 wines of 2022

By Patrick Schmitt

He may be one of the most well-known chefs in the world, but Gordon Ramsay isn’t immune to criticism, particularly when it comes to prices. And customers left reviews blasting the £8 fries at Ramsay’s Savoy Grill restaurant in Central LonHaving tasted thousands of wines spread across 20 competitions for this year’s Global Wine Masters, I have picked out a top 10 wines of 2022 – and one sparkling.

The following selection are based on my favourites from across the blind tasting series, with each wine representing the bottle I’d most like to take home from our range of competitions – and I’ve tried to limit myself to one sample per tasting.

Garrus, 2020

  • Producer: Chateau d’Esclans Domaines Sacha Lichine
  • Region: Provence, France
  • Grape varieties: Grenache, Vermentino
  • ABV: 14%
  • Approx. retail price: £150
  • Medal: Master

Whether it’s in a blind tasting or at the dinner table, Garrus has never failed to disappoint. Yes it’s expensive, particularly by rosé standards, but it’s so delicious, versatile, and easy to drink – somewhat dangerously so. If the price puts you off, its baby brother called Les Clans is made in a similar style – ie employing old-vine, barrel-fermented Grenache – and retails for less than £50. It just lacks the depth and finesse of Garrus.

Here’s my tasting note from The Global Rosé Masters 2022:

When it comes to Garrus, the original is still the best. This was the first rosé to be made like a fine white Burgundy or Bordeaux blanc – fermented and aged in a mixture of new and used oak barrels to create a wine with a creamy taste and texture, and the potential to age and develop over time after bottling. It was also the brand that started the category of luxury rosés, as the first non-sparkling pink drink to retail for more than £100 a bottle. And it was the best-performer in the inaugural Global Rosé Masters, and has consistently been the highest-scorer in this competition. The appeal lies in its brilliantly-balanced mix of ripe fruit, fine oak, and freshness. One sip, and the wine gradually unfolds, revealing flavours of peach and pear, pomegranate and pink grapefruit, then orange zest mingling with creamy vanilla and toasted marshmallow. As for the feel of this rosé, there’s a slight richness to the wine, with an oily weight to it, but a bone dry, chalk and citrus finish, which ensures it still serves as a refreshing rosé.