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2015 Miraval Rosé, Famille Perrin, Côtes de Provence
Château Miraval is located close to the ancient town of Correns, just to the north of Brignoles right in the heart of Provence. The property is, if you will forgive the hyperbole, pretty much as close to paradise as it is possible to be, a terraced oasis nestling in the forests and scrub of the Mediterranean.
Its history goes some way to explain the magical aura which pervades the valley; located close to the Roman road Via Aurelia, Miraval was the site of a monastery in the Middle Ages, thereafter a refuge for the Bourbon kings. More recently, it has been a peaceful retreat for latter-day troubadours, its recording studio tempting the likes of Sting, Sade and Pink Floyd to record some of their finest work over the years.
Inspiration is clearly not hard to come by here. The latest incumbents are no strangers to fame and fortune; not only is Miraval the summer retreat of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, but it is also the winery where they have launched a joint venture with the Perrin family of the renowned Château de Beaucastel in the Rhône Valley.
There are over 200 different grape varieties used in modern wine making (from a total of over 1000). Most lesser known blends and varieties are traditional to specific parts of the world.
Reputedly the source of Louis XIV’s favourite wines, Côtes de Provence lies in the south-east of Provence and overlaps with the Var department. Coteaux Varois is sandwiched between two parts of the Côtes de Provence appellation; the enclaves of Cassis, Bandol and Palette are also nestled between pockets of land to the south and east of Côtes de Provence.
Eighty percent of the appellation’s production is dry rosé wine, distinguished by an inimitable pale-pink colour and elegant flavours. Cinsault and Grenache dominate in the region’s rosés, augmented with the occasional dash of the local, intensely aromatic Tibouren. The AOC regulations stipulate that at least 20 percent of a rosé blend must come from wine made using the saignée (literally, ‘bleeding’) method.
The remaining 20 percent of the region’s production is dedicated 15 percent to red and five percent to white wines. Following the Phylloxera epidemic known as the Great French Wine Blight in the late 1800s, much of Côtes de Provence was replanted with the high-yielding Carignan vine.
Since the late 1990s, a host of new, small, dynamic estates has started to focus on a new-wave style of red wines, characterised by full-fruit ripeness, concentration, and soft tannins and using ameliorateur varieties such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, which are gradually replacing the once ubiquitous Carignan.
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