Dining at TheBLVD at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel is the quintessential Beverly Hills experience. The front sidewalk dining area overlooking Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive is quite possibly the best people-watching venue in the city. Even in a heatwave, almost every seat was taken. Rolls Royce and Ferraris drove by, and well-dressed individuals paraded on the sidewalk.
Our friendly and professional server presented a pop-up pink Rosé on Rodeo menu and TheBLVD dinner menu. We opted to try the four rosé wine tastings from Chateau d’Esclans. Two floral paper placemats were placed in front of us with four circles for four wine glasses to rest. Each circle had the name of a different Chateau d’Esclans wine. One of my favorite rosé wines, Whispering Angel was offered, as were Rock Angel, Château d’Esclans and Garrus.
The chefs at the restaurant prepared four small bites to pair with the wine tasting experience.
Chateau d’Esclans winery is situated in the heart of Provence, northeast of St. Tropez. When Sacha Lichine acquired the Château in 2006, he and world renown winemaker Patrick Léon ignited the “rosé renaissance” with Whispering Angel. Léon crafted innovative winemaking techniques to produce a richer and more fruit forward Provence rosé. He collected Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle (Vermentino) grapes to produce the pale pink color. This is not a sweet rosé, but more of a lush, dry blend with a smooth finish. The juice from grapes is fermented and aged in temperature controlled stainless steel. Each sip offered a fresh red berry and floral essence. It was paired nicely with a refreshing hamachi in a citrus ponzu sauce with thinly sliced jalapeño rings. Those looking for a larger portion may order TheBLVD’s Japanese Hamachi crudo with cilantro, jalapeños, in a lemony Citronette sauce.
We moved on to Rock Angel, another beautifully pale pink wine, that is a tad more complex than Whispering Angel. The wine offers the minerality of a Sancerre with delicate berry aromas and a hint of flowers and spice. It’s been aged in partial oak to give a creamier mouthfeel and texture, plus a long and silky finish.
Rock Angel is made from grapes growing in Esclans Valley vineyards in the Cotes de Provence region. We sipped the rosé with burrata and brightly colored tomato halves drizzled with a shiso dressing. A larger food pairing option on the menu is the house-made ricotta salad with arugula, seasonal fruits, Kashmiri salt and grilled sourdough.
The estate Château d’Esclans rosé wine is made from Grenache and Rolle (Vermentino), that is aged in stainless steel and barrel fermentation, giving it a unique freshness and complexity. Each sip offers a bouquet of floral notes, ripe red berry and a touch of vanilla and pear. The grapes are exclusively from the vineyards of Chateau d’Esclans.
It was paired with a rosé gele – think of it as a consomme of rosé wine – topped with smoked trout caviar offering a saline burst with each bite.
The last wine we tasted is considered Château d’Esclans’ finest, Garrus. Made from grapes growing on nearly 100-year-old vines, the wine is fermented and aged in new large French oak barrels, establishing this wine as a world class luxury rosé. It is almost like a vintage Champagne without the bubbles.
Sipping it with strawberry halves soaked in rosé, the concentrated aroma and flavor of dried citrus, peaches and passion fruit offers a powerful nose. Its bright acidity offers a hint of pear and pineapple on the palate.
This wine pairs nicely with the Scottish salmon, grilled swordfish or the lobster pappardelle with caviar entrées featured on the menu.
While we were finishing our wines, a final plate arrived with bright yellow rosé ice cream and petit macarons with fresh strawberries. Taking a bite, the lyrics, “Beverly Hills, that’s where I long to be,” popped into my head. Yes, I long to return to the stunningly beautiful TheBLVD at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. $$$ 9500 Wilshire Blvd., (310)275-5200.
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