surinenglish

Rose-tinted divorce

There's no good reason, as often happens, to denigrate wines made by celebrities. As with everything, sometimes the wine is good, sometimes so-so, but even if it is terrible you are not obliged to buy it and the winery gives employment to locals.

Artists like Sting, Cliff Richards, Olivia Newton-John, Al Bano and Madonna are all winery-owners, and in the film world Gérard Depardieu, Frances Ford Coppola, George Clooney and Antonio Banderas are among those who have had the greatest success with their labels.

Ditto Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who had rented the Miraval estate in French Provence from its American owner since 2008, and bought it for $60M in 2012. Their very discreet wedding took place there in 2014. The property has half a million square metres, and once in control Pitt realised a lifetime ambition to make wine. Sensibly he teamed up with an established well-known producer of the same locality, Marc Perrin. Together, the American film star and the French oenologist were soon on the road to success, and of the four varieties that were launched on the market, the Miraval Rosé was an immediate hit. There is no way of checking this out, but allegedly the first 6,000 bottles sent to the USA sold out in five hours. Now that's pretty spectacular and we have to assume the buyers were pre-warned and waiting to raid the stores. It soon appeared in Wine Spectator's Top World 100 wines at 84th place, and currently is rated in the world's top 10% French wines and top 11% of world wines. There is a waiting list, and it has become so popular in China that a special coded bottle has been introduced to stop counterfeits.

Of course, how much of all this is really down to the quality of the 'vino brangelina' or just the typical hype, but we shall soon find out. The estate forms a substantial part of the $500 million divorce settlement to be apportioned between the two stars, so even at the $60 millions paid four years ago and allowing for an increase in value, it is not chickenfeed. Check out the wine yourself: 18 euros from El Corte Inglés.