This year, the renowned French winemaker, Famille Perrin, of ChÃ¢teauneuf-du-Pape fame, was voted Winemaker of the Year by Decanter magazine. In addition to their own domaine, Marc & Pierre Perrin are equal-partnered with newly-weds, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the owners of ChÃ¢teau Miraval, in Correns-Var, where between them they produce the worldâ€™s best rosÃ©.
The estate, in the Coteaux Varois, one of the most beautiful domaines in the ProvenÃ§al region, is sited in an area which has been inhabited since pre-Roman times. It began life as a monastery in the 13th century, still retaining its Roman vineyards and chapel (where Pitt and Jolie tied the knot last month).
In the 15th century, Miraval became the home of the Orsini Prince of Naples, when he joined the French court. Around this time, the chÃ¢teau was listed in the registry of Noble Houses. The estate remained in the Orsini family for the next four centuriesâ€¦ although they are not responsible for the huge wine cellar; that honor goes to Joseph-Louis Lombot, who moved to the family estate of Miraval in 1841. The inventor of ferro-cement (reinforced concrete), Lombot built the chÃ¢teauâ€™s vast cellar in 1850. In 1855, Lombot patented his concrete boat, and exhibited it the same year at the Exposition Universelle (Worldâ€™s Fair) in Paris. His prototype can be found at the Museum of Brignoles, not far from Miravel.
Fast-forward to 1978, when the then-owner, legendary jazz pianist, Jacques Loussier built a recording studio in the chÃ¢teau after the break-up of the Jacques Loussier Trio. In 1993, American, Tom Bove bought the estate, after falling in love with it during a family holiday. During his time on the estate, he produced mainly vin de pays (simple country wines), alongside his much sought-after â€˜Pink Floyd rosÃ©â€™, which he so-named in 2009, because the band (allegedly) recorded some of the tracks for their album, The Wall, in Loussierâ€™s studio.
In 2008, Bove leased Miraval to the Pitt-Jolies, who then bought it for $60m in 2012. The 1,000 acre estate, complete with woodlands, Roman ruins, dinosaur fossils, fountains, indoor pool, and a moat, is also home to an olive grove, and around 100 acres of certified organic vineyards, growing Grenache, Vermentino, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah grapes. They have already begun to renovate the 20 terraces, each of which is half a mile long – no small undertaking.
Last year, the Pitt-Jolie and Perrin families launched their own rosÃ©, Jolie-Pitt & Perrin CÃ´te de Provence RosÃ© Miraval. Jolie and Pitt, both active in the blending of the wine, also helped to design the new bottle shape and distinctive black label.
The pale pink wine, described as having;â€œpure flavors of dried red berry and tangerine, and a focused finish with flint and spice notesâ€, has received critical acclaim, not least from Wine Spectator, which, by including it, the only rosÃ©, on its list of the top 100 wines of the year, deemed it the best rosÃ© in the world. The first run of bottles, the majority of which were pre-ordered, completely sold out within five hours of the launch. This yearâ€™s vintage, released in time for Valentineâ€™s Day, and retailing at around $20 a bottle, met with similar enthusiasm.
Itâ€™s not only the buyers and consumers who are enthusiastic about ChÃ¢teau Miravalâ€™s wine, Pitt himself, it seems, is thoroughly enjoying taking a hands-on approach to his estate:
â€œIâ€™m a farmer now,â€ he says, â€œI love learning about the land and which field is most suitable for which grape: the drama of September and October: Are we picking today? Where are the sugar levels? How is the acidity? Is it going to rain?â€
ChÃ¢teau Miraval, also produces whites under the Coteaux Varois and CÃ´tes de Provence appellations, and has been described by Guide Hachette as one of the top 500 wine producers in France. According to Perrin, these wines are highly valued by sommeliers. Not content to rest on their laurels, however, Famille Perrin and Pitt-Jolie plan to raise the domaine to even greater heights; later this year will see the launch of their first red vintage, and they have plans to launch a â€˜Super Provenceâ€™ red, Ã la Super Tuscans, within the next five years.
We at France.com wish Familles Perrin & Pitt-Jolie every success for a rosy future at ChÃ¢teau Miraval.0
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