You know rosé is hot when movie stars start making it.
That’s what’s behind the incredible popularity of Miraval, the Provencal rosé whose price has suddenly gone from “I can afford that” to “wait, what?” Cheapest we can find is $22 per bottle; at most places it’s in the mid to high 20s. (That’s not as expensive as some Provencal rosé, but we predict it soon will be if this inflation continues.)
Here’s the background: In 2012, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie paid $60 million for Château Miraval, a 1,200-acre estate in the village of Correns, France. It’s sweet: pine forests, olive groves, terraced hillsides, working vineyards, a private lake and a moat to keep out stalkers. Brangelina tied the knot there in 2014 and call it home. (A little too ostentatious, you say? Hey, Johnny Depp bought a whole French village.)
Over the years Château Miraval has served many purposes. It’s been used as a recording studio (Pink Floyd recorded parts of “The Wall” there). In 1992 it became a winery: American winemaker Tom Bove bought it and made it into one of France’s best producers of organic wine.
Pitt and Jolie enjoyed the idea of living in a winery. They launched Miraval wines on Valentine’s Day 2013, collaborating with the famous Perrin family (they’re behind Chateau de Beaucastel and they helped found Tablas Creek on California’s Central Coast).
The Pitt-Jolie label was catnip to the public. They sold out their first 6,000 bottles of rosé in just five hours.
Here’s the problem: traditionally, rosé was dirt cheap. (Next week, Alex, our #SommNextDoor, will explain how it’s made, why it tastes the way it does, and why it’s not supposed to be a big-buck wine.) But Brangelina and their damned celebrity are turning every Frenchman’s inexpensive summer sipper into a pricey pink princess with its nose held as high as its sticker price. That’s just wrong, people.
Okay, so Miraval is pretty tasty. But there’s plenty of other great rosé out there that’s in the same quality ballpark at a fraction of the cost. We threw a tasting party last week with a bunch of friends to determine the best of the lot (and there are a LOT – every two-bit winemaker in America has hopped onto the rosé bandwagon in the last few years).
Here’s our list of faves with some notes on the best of the best. Prices are lowest available online:
Café du Midi 2015 Grenache Rosé (Vin de France) $10: Watermelon and red cherry nose. Pale-pink color. Ripe red-fruit flavors.
Chateau de Campuget (Rhone) $9.99: Pale colored. Very light. Hint of wet stone.
Chateau Sainte Eulalie (Minervois) $9.99
Esprit Gassier (Cotes du Provence) $11.99
Juliette La Sangliere (Provence) $9.99
La Manarine (Cotes du Rhone) $10.99
Les Violettes (Cotes du Rhone) $12.99
Triennes (Mediteranee) $13.99: Very similar to Miraval. Its baby sister. Same pale blush color. But it’s not as expensive!
Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado Txakolina 2015 (made in Getaria, Basque country near San Sebastian) $19.98: Fruity bouquet, very peachy. Finish is dry. Light bubbles. Interesting!
Ostatu 2015 (Rioja) $13.49
Bodegas Viñátigo Listan negro 2015 (Tenerife, Canary Islands) $20
Alta Colina 2015 Rosé
Chronic Rosé of Grenache and Syrah $12.99: Woo hoo! Bold! Slightly sweet in the finish. Not French style, but a crowd favorite.