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On arriving in Cotignac, the Cronks set about finding the best vineyards and growers in Provence’s leading rosé region. They put together a highly experienced winemaking team and within a year launched the Mirabeau brand.
In 2011 the couple brought Nathalie Longefay on as Mirabeau’s lead winemaker. Longefay was born into a winemaking family in Beaujolais and earned her enology degree from the University of Toulouse. She has worked all over France as well as in Australia’s Hunter Valley. She oversees all aspects of winemaking, from grape to glass, and helps ensure that Mirabeau’s signature style—dry, crisp rosé that’s pale pink in color, with delicate fruit and floral notes—remains consistent year after year.
Today, Mirabeau is renowned for its collection of rosés. Over the course of eight vintages, says Stephen Cronk, Mirabeau has “won critical acclaim from around the world, with all of the wines scoring 90 points and above.” The brand is sold in more than 50 international markets. “Mirabeau has become one of the best-selling Provence rosé brands in both the U.K. and Australia,” Cronk says. “We now want to become one of the best-known quality Provence producers in the U.S.” The brand had been selling a maximum of 6,000 cases annually in the U.S. market through 2016. Since joining the Pacific Highway portfolio in January 2017, however, Mirabeau is on target to triple its stateside sales, with 18,000 cases projected for 2018.
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The Mirabeau Collection
Mirabeau’s Côtes de Provence rosé collection includes an array of expressions, from the fresh, bright style of Mirabeau Classic, to the more subtle, mineral style of Pure, to the most aromatic expression—Etoile. Mirabeau also makes small quantities of white and red wines, as well as a sparkling wine and an on-trade-only still rosé called Azure.
The blends are made from hundreds of high-quality cuvées, with fruit—Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault—that comes from vineyards spanning 2,000 hectares of prime Côtes de Provence terroir.
- Classic – Syrah (60%), Grenache (35%), Cinsault (5%)
- Pure – Grenache (60%), Syrah (40%)
- Etoile – Grenache (90%), Cinsault (10%)
- Sézane – Syrah (50%), Grenache (40%), Cinsault (10%)
- La Folie – Syrah and Grenache (Charmat-method rosé sparkler from the Luberon region)
- Azure – Syrah (49%), Grenache (42%), Cinsault (9%)
Selling Mirabeau by the Glass
The Provence rosé category has seen explosive growth in the last five years, with a 46 percent increase in bottle sales from 2016 to 2017, according to Wines of Provence. As Cronk points out, the category’s increase in popularity is as much about the open-minded drinking attitudes of millennial consumers as it is about rosé being synonymous with versatility, quality, and the notion of the modern, casual-chic Provençal lifestyle.
An essential for any BTG menu, Mirabeau rosés are “structured and refined with long, lingering finishes,” says Janet Pouchot, the brand’s U.S. sales director. “The wines, which give notes of strawberry, lychee, florals, and hints of citrus, pair well with many foods, including bar snacks and small plates.”
Mirabeau’s 2017 vintages of Pure and Etoile are particularly well suited for summer BTG menus. The Pure 2017, says Pouchot, is a classic BTG offering. “It’s approachable, versatile, crisp, and dry and makes an excellent aperitif.“
The Etoile 2017—a premium glass pour—is a more sophisticated style of aperitif, she says. “It’s elegant with a delicate structure and long finish, and it pairs especially well with more complex menu items, such as dishes accompanied by flavorful sauces.”
Mirabeau offers BTG pricing in every U.S. market.
Best Summer Sippers by the Glass from Pacific Highway
Dedicated to introducing the world’s wine lovers to distinctive bottles from family-owned brands around the globe, Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits is a specialized import, sales, and marketing agency that seeks to build meaningful relationships with distributors and on- and off-premise buyers.