I posted a picture on my Facebook page yesterday of my recently purchased bottle of Miraval rose, a wine from the property owned by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and a joint winemaking venture with the Perrin family. It is rose season, or was until the temperatures dropped here for a couple of days, and I always try as many as I can every year. I suspected this wine will be good based on its pedigree and property history, and the bottle is striking too, but joked that I wondered if it would be named “Sexiest Wine Alive” or “Most Beautiful Wine in the World”. I am not sure People magazine did a full review but I am sure it was mentioned there as well.
Then as I was looking through the NY Times this morning, I saw an editorial by Angelina Jolie. It was a very specific and honest account of her choice to have a double mastectomy as a pre-emptive measure. Her mother died from breast cancer at 56, and she had herself tested and found she too carried the gene mutation that gave her an 87% chance of breast cancer. The double mastectomy would lower her risk to under 5%. She chose life, pro-actively. I know women who have done this too…they pro-actively chose the not so easy option that allowed them to live life without some seed of doubt in their minds. They did it without the resources Angelina Jolie had in 2013, and that means not so much the financial resources, but the latest advancements in medical technology. All of them were incredibly brave to make what seemed a matter of fact decision, but undoubtedly took some great degree of emotional wrestling to come to a point of resolve. As a casual observer and admirer, breasts come in all shapes and sizes and can be great fun, but I don’t ever think they defined any woman I have known…these women certainly came to that conclusion. Their courage they showed up front was a greater badge of their femininity than their breasts ever could be.
Now back to wine, because that’s what I write about. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt bought Chateau Miraval in Provence. Miraval isn’t some fancy name they came up with…it was the existing name of the property, one that has been making very good quality organic wines for some time now. The new owners continue that practice, along with hand harvesting all the fruit. Also at the chateau, was a recording studio where the following partial list of music performers have recorded: AC/DC (who are on the label of a series of wines themselves), The Cure, Muse, Wham!, David Sylvian, Chris Rea, Sade, the Go-Betweens, Steve Winwood, Yes, UB40, Shirley Bassey, the Gipsy Kings, Rammstein. Most famously, Pink Floyd recorded a good portion of “The Wall” here and the winery made a very good “Pink Floyd Rose” after that.
Angelina and Brad brought in Marc Perrin (of Perrin family fame, best known for Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf-du-Pape) to raise the winemaking profile of this 1000 acre estate, and make the most out of the classic Rhone grapes grown on the property – Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle. So even though they are most likely not actively involved in the grape growing and winemaking (stop with the images of Angelina and Brad stomping grapes while sporting some amazing looking casual designer apparel), the property is making real wine, and most likely really good wine.
I didn’t think this was a frivolous wine to begin with, but this morning, after reading her editorial, I am looking at the Miraval rose, now on my kitchen table as I type this, in a different light. Those who have attended my events or read my words know wine is not about snob appeal, or celebrity status for that matter. I believe wine is personal, wine is connective, wine is for enjoyment, wine is for living. It is in itself a living product. I often write about what wine pairs well with all sorts of things. I have never written about what wine pairs best with breasts, and I have not tasted the Miraval rose yet. At a price point in the low 20s, it won’t ever be my “house rose”, but this morning, it is a wine that I now see as personal, as connective, that is for enjoyment, and for living. It doesn’t take courage for most of us to live life fully, yet many don’t. Here is a toast to those who make difficult decisions so they can live life more easily and more fully. I’ll think about you all when I open the bottle some time this week, and that’s not such a bad wine pairing at all.