Having never tasted cult rosé Whispering Angel's big sister label Rock Angel before, Lizzie Gore-Grimes gets a surprise delivery in the post, and finds her bank holiday weekend made up.
I was supposed to be away with my six best pals this weekend. Every year, we make our escape for a long weekend, to somewhere where the sun shines, the wine flows and our children are unlikely to make an appearance.
This bank holiday weekend, instead of sitting by a Comporta pool with those six legends, I’ll be manning the paddling pool with my offspring, but thanks to a mid-week wine delivery, at least I’ll be sipping something lovely – namely a chilled glass of Rock Angel rosé. A very small compensation, but at this stage I’ll take anything I can get.
Irish wine distributors Edward Dillon have just added the Provencal Chateau d’Esclans trio of rosés (including Whispering Angel, Rock Angel and the top-of-the-line eponymous Chateau d’Esclans) to their portfolio, so you should be able to find them more readily available across Ireland, which will come as great news to the thousands already in thrall to this cult wine label.
“We can’t keep it in stock,” says sommelier Tomasz Szczepanski of The Corkscrew in Dublin. “We have a new shipment of both Whispering and Rock Angel coming in early next week and already we have a considerable pre-order list.”
Rock V Whispering, how do they compare?
In the absence of the six sirens I roped the husband in on the wine tasting to see how the higher-end (and higher price) Rock Angel (€40) held up against its super-popular younger sibling (€25). Both bottles boast that light-refracting-off-a-yacht-sunset pale pink colour – although you could argue that Rock Angel is just a shade of deeper nectarine than Whispering’s pale peach.
Where Whispering Angel is a blend of 5 grapes ( Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault, Syrah, and Tibouren) Rock Angel is made up of just two – Grenache (85%) and Rolle(15%). A touch of oak also lends it a richer creaminess and a longer finish, which tastes delicious and would hold up really well paired with food, particularly seafood.
I have to say the Whispering still held up well for me, probably because my preferred way to drink it is while the late afternoon sun is still setting and the air hangs heavy with residual heat, but if you prefer a more personality-driven wine and the dry minerality of Sancerre, you’ll love Rock Angel.
Believe the hype?
Interestingly, chatting to Tomasz Szczepanski (currently Ireland’s second best sommelier according to The Irish Guild of Sommeliers), he concedes that Whispering Angel is as an excellent example of this style of rose. “It is one of the world's most popular wines - on social media - but it is lovely. With medium intensity on the nose, unripe strawberries and lots of lovely orange blossom and mandarin, it’s extremely drinkable. When it was priced €35, it was not worth that much, in my opinion, but now that it is available for €25, it represents good value for a Provencal rosé of this quality.”
One things for sure, when it comes to injecting a little St Tropez insouciance into an Irish bank holiday back yard, it's pretty hard to beat.
Whispering Angel 2019 750ml (RSP €25.00) is available from Molloys, Jus de Vine, La Touche Wines, Mitchell & Son, Nolans, Higgins, 64 Wines, Morton & Sons, The Corkscrew, Cheers Take Home, D SIX Wines, Redmonds, The Vintry, McHughs, Martins, Whelehans Wines, Wines Made Easy, Deveneys, On The Grapevine, Gibneys of Malahide, Avoca Stores, Celtic Whiskey Store, O’Briens nationwide, select Dunnes Stores, The Wine Centre Kilkenny, Bradleys Cork, World Wide Wines Waterford, The Malt House Meath, Dicey Reillys Donegal, O’Donovans Cork, Bubble Brothers Cork.
Rock Angel 2019 750ml (RSP €40.00) is available from The Corkscrew and Morton & Sons in Dublin and The Wine Centre Kilkenny, Eldons Clonmel, Dicey Reillys Donegal.
Château d’Esclan 2018 750ml (RSP €44.00) is available from The Malt House Meath.
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