Under the agreement, the Perrin family, long-term owners of Château Beaucastel in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and one of the most renowned names in the Rhone Valley, are now responsible for both the winemaking and distribution of the Jolie-Pitts’ Château Miraval in Correns.
The Perrins began working with the estate from harvest 2012, Marc Perrin told Decanter.com. Mutual friends put the two sides in touch, he said.
When the Jolie-Pitts first moved in to Château Miraval they signed a three-year lease to rent the 500-ha estate, but its AOC Côtes de Provence continued to be made by the previous winemaker.
They have since purchased the property – reportedly for around US$60m – and have been carrying out extensive renovations.
The property covers an entire valley, with 60ha of old vines, at an altitude of 350m. ‘The terroir, the freshness that comes from the altitude, and the exposition of the vines are all incredible,’ said Perrin. ‘For us as winemakers, it’s a wonderful opportunity to work with grapes that we know well, in an environment where striving for quality is the most important thing.’
Among the planned changes, Perrin said, is a full geological survey, likely to be carried out by soil expert Claude Bourguignon, and field grafting of some varieties such as Mourvèdre to add complexity to the Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah blend that is currently used in the red wines. The estate also produces a white, from the Rolle grape, and a Pink Floyd rosé, named because the seminal album The Wall was recorded in a studio at the property.
‘The focus will now be more about Miraval itself that any specific cuvée,’ said Perrin. ‘They (the Jolie-Pitts) want to ensure they are making the best Provence wines they can. They were present at the blending sessions this year, and are relooking at everything from the installations in the winery – where we have already switched to stainless steel tanks – to reworking the labels across the range of wines.’
The first Perrin-made Miraval rosés should be on the market next month, March 2013, with the white wines arriving at the end of the summer.