The vinous baby of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt has finally arrived stateside! If you haven’t heard, Brangie are now Provençal winemakers, having delivered their inaugural vintage of rosé from their Château Miraval estate last week. But erase any vision of Angie lovingly tending vines in muddy boots, hair matted to forehead under the hot midsummer sun; or Brad, come harvest time, with his usual overgrown goatee, gently picking grapes during cool pre-dawn hours and hand-sorting them at the table. That’s only in the movies, folks.
In reality, if you own a château as a second, third, or sixth home, you probably aren’t foot-stomping fruit. But that doesn’t mean the wine isn’t good. Miraval has a history of quality organic wine production long before its celebrity ownership, most notably for its Pink Floyd rosé, so named because the group recorded part of their album The Wall in the château’s recording studio.
In recent years, the 1,000-acre estate was acquired by the duo through the glitterati version of rent-to-own (they leased for several years before dropping $60 million on the property). As far as their new wine label, someone else was hired to do everything but pay the mortgage. Well, not just someone. The Jolie-Pitts teamed up with Marc Perrin, owner of famed Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, to turn a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Rolle into the high-profile Miraval Provence Rosé 2012 with the Jolie-Pitt & Perrin names featured on the back.
If you actually care about tasting the celebrity couple’s wine, move quickly. Their first offering, released on the château’s website in early March, sold out in six hours — a winemaker’s wet dream and one that is definitely not recurring for most. Fortunately for us New Yorkers, Union Square Wines just received one of the largest allotments in the country. As a recipient of USQ’s newsletter, I was notified a month ago that I could pre-order a bottle to ensure one precious little Jolie-Pitt rosé would be mine. I felt like a sucker for buying it, but inquiring minds want to know: Is it worth the hype?
The bottle itself is gorgeous, reminiscent of Ruinart Champagne’s curvy, sexy glass, although the unwieldy shape (and enormous punt!) doesn’t easily lend itself to storage. Not that you would stick this in your wine fridge for any length of time — the luminescent, salmon-pink juice practically dares you not to cut the foil and uncork it immediately. The wine inside is perfumed and smacks of summer: blooming jasmine and honeysuckle, red fruits of cherry, raspberry and watermelon, plus zippy citrus peel. Refreshing. Eminently drinkable. As lyrical as A River Runs Through It? Not quite; but profoundly better than that overhyped stinker Salt.
USQ still has a few cases in stock. Bottles are priced at $22.99 or $19.99 each if you buy six. But my advice is to buy one, skip the case, and diversify your rosé portfolio. France, Spain and USA, to name a few, all have exciting offerings from family-owned wineries of ardent vintners who can’t sell out of a wine based on star power in 6 hours, let alone 6 months, even if their wines should.