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 the 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.