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French rosé: an American star

Christelle Zamora By Christelle Zamora, Editor 08.08.2020
French rosé: an American star

You might not know it, but Provence rosé is having a moment. It has blazed quite the path through the American wine scene. Read on to learn how.

What do Sacha Lichine, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jon Bon Jovi, and Gérard Bertrand have in common? Music? Movies? Not even close! It's pink—the favorite color of Millennials. Even though Provence rosés compete for the title of France's palest wine, they have nevertheless managed to make their mark. Once they outgrew their hangups over pink wine, the Americans fell hard for rosé as well. But how did we get here? To understand the full story, we have to go back over two hundred years to the invention of pink champagne by Veuve Clicquot. Later, in 1955, 23 rosé wines from Provence were granted Cru Classé status even before the Coteaux-d'Aix-en-Provence, Coteaux-Varois-en-Provence, and Côtes-de-Provence designations were created. Later, Sacha Lichine, a Frenchman from Margaux with Russian ancestry, purchased Château d'Esclans in 2006. Lichine, who had extensive experience in the American market, was the first to successfully market Provence rosé as an upscale wine through his Garrus vintage. It became the most expensive bottle in the world, and his brand, Whispering Angel, became a worldwide export.

Three contenders for the title of World's Best Rosé

A savvy move, then love at first sight. It started in 2011 when Hollywood's most glamorous couple decided to purchase Château de Miraval in Correns (Var). Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie took over the property, which had previously belonged to the pianist and composer Jacques Loussier. In the 1980s, Studio Miraval hosted legendary music groups such as Sade, The Cure, and Pink Floyd before it was purchased by the American businessman Tom Bove. Thanks to the two stars, this latest iteration of the legendary Château Miraval increased the popularity of Côtes-de-Provence wines in the United States. Provence rosé became known as a "lifestyle" wine. Languedoc, another rosé-producing region, felt left out. So, in 2018, Gérard Bertrand created an upscale rosé wine with the American rock star, Jon Bon Jovi. The wine merchant launched it to great fanfare in the United States. The Languedoc native then went on to create Clos du Temple. This vintage rivaled Muse from Château Miraval and Garrus from Château d'Esclans. Nowadays, the three wines compete for the title of "World's Best Rosé".

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