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Posted: Monday, 23 Sep 2019 00:14

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Miraval: A Tale of Brangelina and Famille Perrin of Beaucastel

Sep 23: With the tongues wagging ever since the famous Hollywood couple Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie decided to split, about the division and possible sell-off the stake in Chateau Miraval by the estranged couple, it was good to know from Pierre Perrin, one of the family members of Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape, that it was business as usual at Miraval, writes Subhash Arora who visited their Chateauneuf du Pape winery and later met him at the family-owned restaurant NEZ in Gigondas

Nothing has changed at the château and the estate is being kept as an investment for their children, says Pierre Perrin whose brother Marc is the President of Chateau de Beaucastel and currently also of Primum Familae Vini (PFV) which had visited India in 2007 and according to the rules of this association of 12 (then there were 11 members), one member of the family must visit with the group to different countries and Pierre was the one representing Chateau de Beaucastel and was in Mumbai when I met him at the Taj Palace Hotel. Earlier I had met him in Vinexpo in 2003.

Pierre had a very interesting story to share about how the Famille (Family) Perrin came to be associated with Miraval Estate. ‘I was with a distributor friend from the USA tasting several of our wines; he loves our wines. Suddenly, at the end he told me, ‘I have a very good friend who is a well-known Hollywood actor; I would like to introduce him to you.’ I said sure ‘but thought he had perhaps had a bit too much of wine, and did not think much about it afterwards’.

‘A few days later, I got the call again from him and he said the gentleman he told me about was with him and they were nearby and wondered if they could come over right away to meet us. Slightly shocked I said again, Sure. And sure enough in he walked soon with the gentleman who was Brad Pitts! He took a tour of our winery and tasted several wines from Chateauneuf du Pape. He liked what he saw and tasted and  said he had bought an Estate in the nearby Provence and he and his partner wife Angelina Jolie were making Miraval Rose. Apparently, he was not happy with the wine quality and they were looking for a good winemaker,’ he said.

‘Following the conversation, I had a chat with my family-which includes my father, uncle, brother and cousins. After discussion we came to the conclusion that we could not get the Brangelina couple a winemaker but Famille Perrin, after visiting the Chateau Miraval decided that they would make an offer of a joint partnership with equal stakes and directly look after winemaking and marketing. Honestly speaking, the quality was quite mediocre at the time and we knew a lot of work had to be done. The couple agreed and since 2012 we have been working very smoothly and expanding the business as well.’

Brad or Jolie more passionate?

So who is more passionate about the wine of the two, I ask. ‘Both are- but Brad is more of a hands-on guy and comes more often. He wants to make the best Rose in the world, says Pierre.’ What about the rumours one hears that after the split they were discussing selling this property as well, I interject. ‘No such thing. Selling at €15 a bottle, we are selling over 3 million bottles. It’s a profitable business. They could save the profits for their children for their future.'

So how good is their Rose? ‘Well, the market won’t buy 3 million bottles just on a celebrity name, would it! We have even set up a new winery with modern equipment including egg-shaped fermenters and the qualy is even better.’ The collaboration brought out a limited edition label called Miraval Muse from parcel selected Grenache and Rolle (known as Vermentino in Italy)). The maiden 2018 vintage of Muse de Miraval of which only 2000 magnums were made, was sold at a charity auction for €2600. The cognoscenti put a value of around €300 as the fair market price for this collectible wine.

Studio by Miraval

The winery also brought out a slightly cheaper label, costing around €10- but just as attractive as the signature cognac shaped bottle with a big punt at the bottom for bigger volume. The IGP wine (similar to IGT wines in Italy), is made from Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle and Tibouren. Very pale pink colour (paler than the Salmon pink of the regular bottle) Rose, has a nose of fresh fruit and citrus notes with fleshy palate and notes of citrus and white flowers is a pleasant drink you can find cases- full of in Famille Perrin’s warehouse in Gigondas where they service their close by wine bar NEZ and the new Restaurant that won a Michelin Star rating a couple of months ago.

NEZ also has a prominent display of Miraval magnums and double-magnums which can have the hallmarks of the customers when bought in volume. The alcohol level is around 13%.

Château Miraval is a château and vineyard located in the village of Correns, just north of Brignoles, a village in the Var département. It is less than 2 hours away from Chateauneuf du Pape, beyond Aix-in Provence. The 500 hA 17th century estate was bought by the couple in 2009 reportedly for around $60 million. It makes Côteaux Varois-en-Provence and Côtes de Provence appellations wines. Besides various Rose it also makes still wine as well as also some organic extra virgin olive oil made from a blend of olives grown at the estate and organic olives grown on similar, high quality terroir.

Miraval is also being imported into India in the regular sized bottles. Try out a bottle- of the best vintage produced so far, the silky 2017 Miraval. Don’t forget to check the back label that says ‘bottled by Jolie, Pitt and Perrin’. And enjoy the magnificent aromas of fragrant white blossom and fruit and a shade of marked minerality that is usually the hallmark of limestone soils.

For more information, visit  www.miraval-provence.com

Subhash Arora


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