When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's new wine label sold out its initial run of 6,000 bottles in less than five hours back in March, many chalked that early success up to the couple's celebrity influence.
Not so, says "Masterchef" judge, restaurateur, and vineyard owner Joe Bastianich. In a review for Vanity Fair
, the 44-year-old says Brad and Angelina stand out from the growing crowd of celebrity vineyard owners simply because they approach the business as real vintners.
"They hired a real wine-maker, they waited until the wine was good, they released it properly—this is a legitimate wine," he says. "I think reviews that compared it to their movies are a little bit disrespectful to the time and attention that they paid to this wine. Yes, the fact that they made Côtes de Provence rosé is a little bit obvious—I mean, what else would they make? But it’s what they drink and what all their friends drink, and it makes sense."
The couple leased (and subsequently purchased) the 1,000-acre (including a 75-acre organic vineyard), $60 million Chateau Miraval in Correns, France in 2008. To grow and distribute the Miraval brand, Pitt and Jolie partnered with Marc Perrin
, a French winemaker whose family owns Chateau Beaucastel in the nearby Rhone Valley.
In an effort to make Miraval stand out, Brad and Angelina had a custom, unique bottle designed for the brand - something Bastianich notes makes an impression, if not the best one.
"Looking at the packaging, this is basically a champagne bottle—which is a little bit odd," he says. "I think the feeling is that with rosé, you have to distinguish yourself. Is this the serum for Dom Ruinart?! If that’s the poison, this might be the cure. As a wine-maker, I would never focus so much on my packaging—in fact, I think the packaging with this wine is so out of the realm of what you would expect [for rosé] that it makes you more skeptical of the quality than you might otherwise be."
Nevertheless, Bastianich says the taste matches its presentation - calling the 2012 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé a very serious wine. "It’s very pretty on the olfactories—rose petals and confectionary sugar—but a little rougher on the palate."