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Maison de Champagne Fleur de Miraval
Wine has its own timeline. It continues through eras of war and peace, enduring through times of love, strife, and even divorce.
Brad Pitt will officially release the second bottling of his Champagne Fleur de Miraval this week. The new issue is the first from Chateau Miraval since Angelina Jolie sold her participation in the winemaking business to beverage giant Tenute del Mondo last month.
Unveiled in 2020, Fleur de Miraval is a rosé champagne, made in France's northeastern Champagne region. The new bottling dubbed ER2 (Exclusively Rosé 2) is a little tweaked from its previous blend, though still produced by the same painstaking Saignée method.
"I was impressed last year with the success of our first edition, Fleur de Miraval ER1," Pitt tells PEOPLE exclusively.
Don't think 'pink champagne' and Sweet Sixteen parties. Fleur's signature color is a desirable copperish-hue, a shade created by its infusion method of creation. Bottled in 2017, ER2 has sat on lees in cellars for three years before release and its 22,000 bottles will be offered at a price of approximately $400 per bottle.
In a business defined by years, decades, and centuries, Fleur de Miraval is a unique, groundbreaking project. Drawing on over 250 years of winemaking experience, it combines expertise from two very different French growing regions and, to hear his partners speak, benefits considerably from Pitt's own curiosity and marketing savoir faire.
Fleur de Miraval
Developed in secrecy for five years before its announcement, the partnership between Pitt and his winemaking companions, based in the commune of Mesnil-sur-Oger, makes Fleur de Miraval the only champagne house dedicated solely to producing rosé champagne.
"With ER2, we pushed the limits even further," he suggests. "We created new extremes for quality." "Each edition of Fleur de Miraval is a constant quest for beauty, a desire to create space for all possibilities," Pitt adds.
The latest edition of Fleur is a blend of 75% chardonnay grapes (of different ages including the 2012 vintage) and 25% young Pinot Noirs from fields in the neighboring village of Vertus. Combining the Provence rosé making skills of the Perrin family (Pitt's original partners in Miraval Cotes de Provence Rosé since 2012) and the knowledge of champagne family Rudolphe Peters, ER2 is a delicate wine with a creamy texture, considerably more 'grip' (a crispness) than its preceding bottling. It imparts tremendous depth, a sense of white Summer flowers and a pronounced hint of pink — rather than red — fruit in the mouth.
ER2 remains a wine resembling few others. Created employing the saignée technique, a unique rosé-making process once particular to Provence, France, saignée creates a bolder wine by "bleeding" away a portion of pressed grape juice from mash. The longer pressed grapes remain in contact with seeds and skins, the darker their juice, best suited for red wine. The saignée method draws juice off before it deepens and, though painstaking, it has devotees in the Loire, Rhone, and Napa regions.
'It's A Process... It's A Process.'
There is a line in Moneyball where Pitt repeats the phrase 'It's a process..." explaining the building technique he is using to create a winning Oakland A's team.
Champagne-maker Pierre Peters laughs gently after hearing himself use the phrase. The sixth-generation winemaker says he worked on creating Fleur de Miraval with the Perrin family for a full year before they even told him of Brad's involvement. "Brad wanted to launch a champagne — but not a copycat type."
Says Peters: "What really drove Brad was the idea of pursuing the art. He wanted to create a wine using the saignée method."
When first announcing Fleur de Miraval in 2020, Pitt decried "celebrity wines." Explaining to PEOPLE, "for me, champagne conjures up feelings of celebration, quality, prestige, and luxury. But rosé Champagne is still relatively unknown. Backed by our success with Miraval in Provence, I wanted us to try to create the defining brand of rosé Champagne, focusing all our efforts on just this one color."
In making ER1 and now ER2, Peters says, "no one was in a rush. This is a business based in the barrel and in patience. With ER2, we wanted to improve on a very good product. It's a process." He adds, ER2 "breaks the code and makes insane flavor."
"Brad was involved 200% with everything," Peters states, describing regular and lengthy Zoom calls, constant emails, and samples shipped overnight during the pandemic. "He wants to know, to understand the process. He trusts us to make the wine but he's involved with everything else, the label, the packaging, the marketing..."
Any effects from Jolie's sale of her stake in Chateau Miraval three weeks ago remain to be seen. For now, there are three future annual releases laying in racks and plans to expand production in 2022.