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If you’re invited to a party with a lot of celebrities, keep an ear open for how many mention “my rosé.” Bonus points if you overhear celebs arguing over whose pink wine is better.
Celebrity rosés are almost as prevalent as pink wine itself. Perhaps the first, and certainly the most famous, is Miraval, from Provence, the brand of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Produced in a partnership with the Perrin family of Chateauneuf-du-Pape fame, the wine has been a market sensation since its introduction with the 2012 vintage. Despite their very public split, Brangelina remain involved with the brand, which now includes a second rosé called Studio and two white wines.
Rock star Jon Bon Jovi and his son Jesse Bongiovi teamed up with French winemaker Gerard Bertrand to create Hampton Water, now in its second vintage. The inspiration came as father and son were vacationing one summer in the Hamptons of Long Island and downing “pink juice” as if it were water, Bongiovi recalled in an email. “I told my father, this is not pink juice, it’s Hampton Water,” he said.
“Essentially, we wanted to bottle up the relaxed lifestyles of the Hamptons and the South of France,” Bongiovi said.
“We created Hampton Water to share the Hamptons and its lifestyle with the world,” he explained. “The Hamptons has always been where we go as a family to slow down from our busy lives and just spend time together. We call it ‘the exhale.’ Essentially, we wanted to bottle up that feeling of enjoying life and making memories with the people you love most. Hampton Water represents that sense of place, not necessarily geographically, but emotionally.”
If you’re sensing a little noblesse oblige, I hear you. Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot” comes to my mind, with King Arthur and Guinevere singing, “What do the simple folk do?”
But before I get too snarky, let me stipulate: Hampton Water 2018 is delicious. It’s a blend of grenache, syrah, cinsault and mourvedre, a classic Provençal recipe, with a pretty, pale pink color and flavors of fresh berries. The marketing is attractively sophisticated, too, from the label with its message of summer luxury to the punt, the dimple in the bottom of the bottle, shaped like a strawberry to suggest fresh flavors of spring and summer.
Singer-songwriter John Legend has also entered the winemaking game, in partnership with Jean-Charles Boisset, owner of Raymond Vineyards in Napa Valley and several other wineries in California and Boisset’s native Burgundy. Legend Vineyard Exclusive wines are primarily from Napa, but the line includes a rosé and a sparkling pink from southern France.
The LVE rosé is less fruity than the Hampton Water and Miraval, with an appealing herbal note that suggests a stroll along a scraggly bluff overlooking the Mediterranean, with a John Legend song pulsing through my AirPods, of course.
There are a lot of rosés on the market, and many are less expensive than these. You will pay for the celebrity connection. But don’t dismiss these wines simply because of that celebrity. These are well-made, high-quality wines. After all, Brangelina, Jon Bon Jovi and John Legend aren’t making wines to diminish the value of their brands. Jesse Bongiovi quoted to me the advice his father gave him when he had the idea for Hampton Water:
“He said to me, ‘You know a lot of successful people. Talk to them and educate yourself on how to start a successful business, study the wine industry, specifically rosé, then put together a legitimate business plan, and come back to me.’ ”
Two vintages in, it’s working. So cue up a movie or play some tunes, pour some rosé, and exhale.
Any of the following celebrity wines would impress at a rosé-themed party this weekend on National Rosé Day, June 8. But if you want to win the tasting with a surprise entry, go for our greatest value of the week, the La Jara Pinot Grigio 2018. It looks and tastes like a rosé, even though the coppery color of the wine comes from the dark skins of this white grape.
Venezia, Italy, $10
Here’s a sneaky entry into your wine club’s rosé tasting. It’s not actually a rosé, even though it looks and tastes like one. Pinot gris is a dark-skinned grape, and when the juice is fermented with a little skin contact, it takes on a coppery-orange tint. The result is very different from the typical pinot grigio with its crisp, neutral character. This wine, made with organic grapes, has oomph. The same producer also makes a nice, inexpensive prosecco. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Dionysos: Available is the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Mom’s Organic Market, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Mom’s Organic Market in Rockville. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean, Reston), Mom’s Organic Market (various locations), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
Sicily, Italy, $14
Juicy, with hints of spice and wild herbs, this lovely rosé is made with the Sicilian grape variety nerello mascalese. Don’t look for subtlety here; this is straightforward, unapologetic fun. Certified sustainable. ABV: 12 percent.
Imported and distributed by Winebow: Available in the District at Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at the Italian Store (both locations) in Arlington, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
Languedoc, France, $25
Watermelon and strawberry flavors, with a hint of mint, highlight this delightful rosé from rock star Jon Bon Jovi and his son, Jesse Bongiovi, in collaboration with French winemaker Gerard Bertrand. If strawberry doesn’t come to mind with the first sip, it is also suggested by the strawberry shaped punt — or bottom divot — in the elegant bottle. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by USA Wine West, distributed by Southern Glazer: Available in the District at Barmy Wines & Liquors, Eye Street Cellars, Imperial Wine & Spirits, S&R Liquors.
Cotes de Provence, France, $25
Dubbed “the Art of Rosé,” this may not be the original celebrity pink wine, but it is the most famous. Created by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, along with the Perrin family of Chateauneuf-du-Pape fame, Miraval (where Jolie and Pitt were married and still co-own) hits the classic notes — pale color, flavors of melons, berries and sea air, and a refreshing palate. There is also a nice second label, called Studio, that retails for about $19. Despite their very public split, Brangelina maintain ownership of the brand. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Vineyard Brands, distributed in the District and Maryland by Bacchus, in Virginia by International Cellars: Widely available.
Provence, France, $27
This is singer-songwriter John Legend’s foray into wine, in partnership with Jean-Charles Boisset of the Boisset Collection family of wines. It tastes more on the herbal side of rosé, with an intriguing dryness and finish. There is also an LVE sparkling rosé. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Boisset America, distributed by Bacchus: Available in the District at Pearson’s, Safeway (L Street, Wisconsin Avenue), Target.
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be sold at additional stores. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.