The popularity of Rose in summer in the east coast of US has risen dramatically year over year and this article will help explain how it happened and who might be behind the movement. Nothing spells SUMMER like a chilled glass of pink water and a nice view. Enjoy the summer of 2016. Here is an article by Jay McInerney.
Sacha Lichine Is the Man To Blame For That Glass of Rosé You’re Holding
by JAY MCINERNEY
MAY 22, 2016
As recently as 10 years ago, when I tried to persuade dinner guests to drink rosé, they looked at me with pity or even horror, amazed that an alleged wine aficionado would make them drink pink wine.
I explained, to little avail, that rosé was the official summer beverage of the Côte d’Azur. However, for the past few summers my friends have been guzzling the stuff, and last August rumors of a rosé shortage spread panic throughout the Hamptons.
I’d love to say I had something to do with this shift in taste, but if anyone deserves the credit it’s Sacha Lichine, the proprietor of Château d’Esclans, which this year will produce its 10th vintage.
COURTESY CHÂTEAU D’ESCLANS DOMAINES SACHA LICHINE
Lichine is wine world royalty, the son of Alexis Lichine, who, as an author, importer, and château owner, did more to introduce Americans to French wine than anyone since Thomas Jefferson. Now 55, Sacha grew up in Manhattan, attending the Lycée Français on the Upper East Side, but he spent summers at Château Prieuré-Lichine, a Fourth Growth estate in Bordeaux purchased by his father in 1951.
He first drank rosé when his father, who was then married to the actress Arlene Dahl, took him to Monte Carlo during one of those summer vacations. “We stayed at the Hôtel de Paris and drank rosé at lunch every day by the pool at the beach club,” Sacha recalls. He also drank rosé at the Prince’s Palace with Grace Kelly, and with Prince Rainier on his yacht, which seems like the perfect apprenticeship for a man who would eventually become an international ambassador for the pink wine of Provence.
He did more to introduce Americans to French wine than anyone since Thomas Jefferson.
While a college student, Sacha served as a sommelier at Anthony’s Pier 4, a now-closed Boston institution that had one of the best wine lists in the U.S. “It was a fantastic place,” he says. “There were three full-time somms, and we sold 8,000 bottles a month. I learned so much.”
Later he put both his wine and language skills to work, taking wealthy oenophiles around the wine regions of France, before inheriting Château Prieuré-Lichine in 1989. I have reports from friends who visited under Sacha’s steward-ship that the winery was a very festive destination. “He had epic birthday parties every August,” says an acquaintance who met Sacha on the dance floor at Xenon in the ’80s. “Everybody just got blind. One morning we woke up and discovered a Volkswagen in a tree. I have no idea how it got there.”
SASHA LICHINE, WHO TURNED A ‘SUMMER DRINK’ INTO A YEAR-ROUND BLOCKBUSTER.
The party eventually wound down; a string of disastrous vintages in the early ’90s and a looming inheritance tax bill contributed to Sacha’s decision to sell Château Prieuré-Lichine. “Bordeaux was becoming more institutional, with many families selling out to large corporations,” he told me over dinner recently at Zuma in downtown Miami. “People thought I was crazy to leave, although anyone who has spent a winter there might understand why I moved to Provence.”
I suspect he also wanted to get out from under his father’s shadow and the weight of tradition, which would have been difficult in the world’s most venerable wine region. “It’s hard to make much of a difference in Bordeaux,” he says.
In 2006 he discovered Château d’Esclans, a 667-acre, 13th-century estate that includes century-old cinsaut and grenache vines. “I had this vision of the south, sunshine and rosé,” he says. “I was looking for an extraordinary spot.” After buying the property he hired Patrick Léon, the former winemaker at Château Mouton Rothschild, and together they set out to create the world’s best rosé.
Like his father, who a generation ago lugged French wine to remote corners of the U.S. by Greyhound, Sacha is a born salesman, and in order to create demand for what was then a sleepy, seasonal niche product, he hit the road, putting Château d’Esclans in front of as many retailers, wholesalers, and restaurateurs as he could.
Sacha is also a great raconteur, with a portfolio of outlandish stories (like the one about Adnan Khashoggi meeting Mobutu Sese Seko at Château Prieuré-Lichine to consummate an arms deal), as well as an irresistible force, a Falstaffian figure who probably drinks more Château d’Esclans than any of his customers and who savors every meal as if it were his last. After spending a long night with him in Miami, I can vouch for his joie de vivre and endurance.
The recession of 2008 offered an opportunity for affordable wines. Château d’Esclans sells two rosés for significantly less than those of Domaines Ott, traditionally the best-selling Provençal domain. Whispering Angel is Lichine’s largest-production and lowest-priced offering; Rock Angel, which has more body and structure, is my favorite for everyday drinking.
At the other end of the spectrum is Garrus, the most expensive rosé in the world, of which Château d’Esclans produces fewer than 25,000 bottles. “I wanted to make the Dom Pérignon of rosés,” Sacha says of Garrus, the early vintages of which I found too oaky—I don’t want my rosé to be too damn serious. However, the latest vintages are elegant and integrated. All four are relatively pale in color, tending toward onionskin rather than salmon. (Sacha believes a lighter pink is more appealing to consumers.)
Since its debut, Garrus seems to have found its niche in the refrigerators of the private-jet set, becoming “a bit of a cult wine,” Sacha says. “I knew we had arrived when we got a call from Feadship, the yachtmaker. They asked for the dimensions of the three-liter bottle of Garrus because one of their clients wanted to build a refrigerator large enough to accommodate several of them.”
Whispering Angel, meanwhile, has become practically ubiquitous in fashionable watering holes in such places as South Beach, Nantucket, and the Hamptons, judging from the production figures, which have risen from 11,000 cases in 2006 to 260,000 last year. Whether that will be enough to satisfy the collective thirst this summer remains to be seen, but it couldn’t hurt to stock up now, just in case.