French Wines: Brangelina’s Miraval Rosé

Posted in wine of the month

Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé 2012
Retail price: $18-25
Available at Gotham Wines and Liquors, New York; Pearson’s Wine and Spirits , Washington, DC; K&L Wine Merchants, San Francisco and Los Angeles

French wines: Brangelina's Miraval rosé

Since when did celebrities become interested in making French wines? Perhaps this makes more sense for French celebrities in their home country: from soccer players Matthieu Chalmé and Johan Micoud in Bordeaux to director Luc Besson in Languedoc to actor Gérard Depardieu in Anjou (although one could argue he’s now Russian)—all own wine estates. Even singer Johnny Hallyday has endorsed a Languedoc wine by plastering his mug, gazing lovingly at a glass of red, on 50,000 bottles.

But now Americans are jumping into the fray. And not just any American celebrities: we’re talking Brangelina, the crème de la crème of Hollywood A-listers. Having purchased the 1,000-acre Château Miraval in Provence’s Coteaux de Varois AOC in 2011, complete with 150 acres of vineyards, the Jolie-Pitts teamed with Marc Perrin of Château de Beaucastel in the Rhône Valley to produce their inaugural vintage in 2012: Miraval rosé.

I have to admit my skepticism when I first heard of the project. What does the couple with everything do next? Buy a vineyard, of course, with a château attached where the kids can run amok! An Oscar wasn’t enough, Angelina? Or saving third-world nations and crusading against cancer while simultaneously popping out twins and stopping traffic with your stunning looks? Et tu, Brad? Not content to be the doting father of half a dozen kids, the two-time recipient of the sexiest man alive award and the star of esoteric Chanel commercials?

Okay, I admit, I wanted to hate this wine—this vinous by-product of the all-American head cheerleader and the captain of the football team—with its sexily curvy bottle and come-hither candy pink hue. Would it be confected and cloying, with notes of bubblegum and barbe à papa? A wine best left on the cutting-room floor along with Brad’s scenes from Troy?

Hardly. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have found able partners in Perrin; together they have created a serious contender for fan favorite in the rosé category.

A blend of grenache, syrah, cinsault and rolle (the French term for vermentino), the Miraval rosé was drier and more austere than I expected, especially given its bewitching cotton-candy color. I have French friends who (sacré bleu!) put ice in their rosé to keep it cool, but I instead quaffed mine at refrigerator temperature. Too cold. The fruit flavor and aroma was masked, leaving a noticeable bitterness reminiscent of grapefruit pith.

But just give this pink lady time, and she’ll shine for the camera. She needs to stroll the red carpet, toss her hair a few times and stick that famous leg out of her evening gown before she reels you in. You’ll be rewarded with plump strawberries, ripe yellow peaches, rose petals and honey as the wine warms in glass. Pairing with delicate seafood, such as crab, raw yellowfin tuna or salade Niçoise would make a Moneyball home run. Spicy Thai salads and noodle dishes would be another excellent sidekick. If you’re sipping it on its own, do so in plenty of sunshine, donning your biggest pair of shades, and flash your best Brangelina smile at the awaiting paparazzi.

Editor’s note: Food and wine lovers heading to Paris might want to try one of the Girls’ Guide’s favorite cooking classes in Paris.

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