the real dirt on miraval
When news broke of #Brangelexit, I found myself in the odd position of checking the tabloids periodically—not for procrastination purposes, but as research. I'm in a pickle at the moment, because I've got a book on rosé due to be published in the spring. That book is about to head to the printer, and now I've got to rewrite a chapter.
Oenophiles have been watching Miraval for years. Before Brangelina, a savvy American entrepreneur named Tom Bove had been producing a remarkable rosé called "Pink Floyd" on the property. (Its name honored one of the many legendary bands that had recorded tracks at Miraval's music studio, installed by French jazz pianist Jacques Loussier.)
Jolie and Pitt signaled they were serious about winemaking when they partnered with the Rhône's Perrin family to manage the estate and produce the wines. The first vintage of Miraval rosé sold out within five hours of release, in 2013. The bottle's alluring shape, reminiscent of fine Champagne, and its subtle scent of celebrity (the owners' names can't be found on the label) boosted the entire rosé sector.
This, as Marc Perrin assured me when I visited the property, was a rosé for the long run, a winemaking business built for the next generation to inherit.
Then news broke of the Jolie-Pitt divorce. Wine news outlets published pieces brimming with speculation. What would happen to the estate? The label?
I rang Hubert Fabre, executive vice president and national sales manager at Vineyard Brands, an importer partially owned by the Perrin family. At present, Fabre told me, he's not certain of Miraval's fate. But his outlook was positive. "The brand is 50 percent owned by Famille Perrin," he told me. "The Perrins could maybe buy the other 50 percent. And Brad and Angelina still own Miraval."
When I visited the estate a year ago, I recall Marc Perrin remarking offhandedly how much Pitt enjoyed the property's wild forests and steep gravel roads. I got the impression that Pitt is a man of the earth, keenly interested in the viticultural aspect of the business and deeply respectful of the land. I also saw signs that the Jolie-Pitt children enjoy escaping to this magical property: a soccer ball on a lawn, small clay figurines, formed by small hands, on a shelf in the music studio.
Thus, when the news of the divorce first broke, I found myself hoping that Pitt would hold onto the property he seemed to love and understand so deeply. Now, with People magazine insinuating that Pitt may be going through some serious and possibly harmful emotional turmoil, it's hard to know what to think.
Perhaps Pitt should hold onto that property. Not for the sake of the wine, but for the sake of personal healing.