I love rosé, I always have and I’m not remotely ashamed to admit it.
That being said, I certainly don’t like EVERY rosé that I try – lots of it is of very poor quality and not worth spending money on. Some of them simply aren’t to my taste (hello? New wood-ageing for a light, fruity wine? Thanks, but no) and there are some regional styles that I prefer over others. Like many a rosé-lover, I tend to prefer to get my fix from the south of France, and why not? That beautiful part of the world’s (still) most important wine-producing nation is home to several of the most esteemed – rightly or not – appellations making rosé in all of the wine world. I’m thinking about Tavel, Bandol and, of course, Provence.
Rosé wines have become very fashionable in the last few years and it seems everybody is trying to cash in on the trend. And it isn’t just table wines and sparkling wines (rosé Champagne, anybody?), fortified wines have waded in as well. We’ve had rosé Port for a little while, and I’ve even seen rosé Rivesaltes, which was something completely new to me. I suppose I should have seen it coming, since just before that I encountered Vin Doux Naturel from Rasteau being made in a rosé style.
There are wines being made in every price category, quality level and region of the world – and it is well worth exploring in more detail. That, however, will have to wait for another time. Today we will look at just one, a relative newcomer from Provence that has had astonishing success in a very short span of time: Miraval. The now-famous wine from the already famous Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt is made by the equally famous (among wine-lovers) Famille Perrin of Château de Beaucastel, certainly one of the most sought-after producers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Onto the wine! Here are some of the details before we get into the tasting note:
Miraval Rosé 2015 – AOP Côtes de Provence, 12% alcohol by volume
Grapes: Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle and Syrah
The vineyard parcels have mostly clay and limestone soils, averaging 350 metres above sea level, and experience significant diurnal variation (meaning there is a big swing in temperature between day and night during the growing season – usually good for quality) during the growing season.
Vinification takes place 95% in steel tanks and 5% in barrels, with bâtonnage. “Pressurage direct” is used for everything but the Syrah, some of which is vinified using the “saignée” method, which is where some of the pink juice from grapes intended for red wine is bled off from the vat holding them and then fermented.
This rosé has that lovely, delicate medium salmon colour so familiar from Provencal rosés. Clear and bright, it speaks of typicity for this zone.
The nose offers that lovely, almost soapy hint of chamomile that I often find in rosé from the south, as well as plenty of raspberry, strawberry and other red fruits.
The palate is nicely fresh, with light red fruits, especially red currants, nice texture with just a hint of the creaminess from that little bit of fermentation in barrel, decent body and a finish that, while not long, is carried well by some mineral tang.
All in all, it is a good, well-made wine meant, like most rosés, for early drinking. It isn’t going to improve with cellaring, but it will hold its own for a couple years. It shows good typicity for the region, has some freshness, fruit, and a bit of minerality. And that’s about it. There isn’t a great deal of concentration, complexity or length. So what on earth is all the hype about?
Well, it doesn’t take a marketing executive to notice that there has been a significant amount of money put into selling this wine. The branding is slick, the bottle shape – reminiscent of cognac – is instantly recognisable, just like that other iconic south French rosé, Domaine Ott, can be spotted at a considerable distance. It certainly doesn’t hurt its profile that it is associated with two very well-known actors, and it is being made by one of the best-known and most-respected producers found the most important appellation in all of the Southern Rhône.
Is it worth the price? Because let’s be honest, this wine isn’t cheap. Every person needs to decide what they are willing to spend, of course, to have the wine that they want. For my money, I can think of rosés that offer far more for less. My personal favourite outside of Bandol comes from Domaine de la Citadelle, which is in the Luberon. It costs around two thirds what this wine does, and offers layers of complexity – as well as fruit, freshness and fun – that, in my opinion, put it far above this wine.
The One-Line Takeaway:
A solid, good, enjoyable wine, but the hype makes it too expensive.