• Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been summering at Provence's Château Miraval since 2008, though they were by no means the organic winery's first celebrity guests—Miraval's Pink Floyd rosé was named in honor of the band, who recorded The Wall at Le Studio de Miraval, the recording studio built at the winery after it was purchased by jazz pianist Jacques Loussier in 1970. Rock-star Tuscan vintner Sting, Sade, the Cranberries and the Gipsy Kings have recorded at Miraval as well. Pitt and Jolie, however, are now making their own mark on Miraval, literally, with a new Miraval Côtes de Provence 2012 rosé made in partnership with the Rhône Valley's Perrin Family of Château de Beaucastel, under the new Jolie-Pitt & Perrin brand. The Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle blend with be available soon in the U.S. market for around $28. "Miraval is certainly one of the most impressive wine estates in Provence," said Perrin & Fils general manager Marc Perrin, who began working with the couple this past summer. "[Brad and Angelina] are involved. He is very interested in wine—he knows his wine very well … it is fantastic. He is an artist with a lot of dedication, so it could not be better," Perrin told Unfiltered. "It is not a celebrity wine—it is a great terroir and we produce a family wine, so that's why we are there."
• Remember when some whiners had a minor fit over Pres. Barack Obama serving Quilceda Creek 2005 at a state dinner (they thought it was purchased at $300, when the figure was closer to the $115 release price)? The White House responded by explaining that this was why we could not have nice things, and thenceforth stopped publicly releasing the wine lists for state dinners. Well what would the howlers have to say about the British government's tastes? (Bad things.) According to an annual report from Government Hospitality, Brit pols and their chums drank $86,000 (£56,000) of wine and spirits in the course of a year from April 2011 to March 2012, including 4,533 bottles of wine. They seem to have a taste for Bordeaux and Burgundy—724 bottles of the former, 612 of the latter—but are doing their best to stomach as much of the local stuff as they can, serving 1,692 bottles of English wine. So much for the Special Relationship, though: a measly six bottles of American wine was quaffed. What's more, the Government Wine Committee that decides what to buy, sell and serve for the $4.6 million Government Wine Cellar (all real things) recently released some tasting notes, including one for a "soapy" white Burgundy marred by "harsh acidity" that, according to the BBC, the Queen then served to Pres. Obama!
At any rate, the types of people who might be miffed to learn their tax cash was enjoyed in the form of 23 bottles of 1982 Margaux over the course of the year, were indeed miffed. The Wine Committee did buy $76,000 of new bottles this year (they were especially bullish on Concha y Toro), while selling only $66,000 worth, though other governmental departments covered the difference. But, you know, that money comes from somewhere too. "It smacks of hypocrisy for the political elite to be quaffing fine wines at a time when ordinary families struggle to make ends meet," the manager of the Taxpayers' Alliance huffed to the Daily Mail.
• In other governmental wine no-nos, Chinese wine collector Henry Tang ran for Hong Kong chief executive last year and lost—in part because of a scandal surrounding an illegally-built basement under his home where he stored his extensive wine collection, which could be enjoyed in his illegal secret entertainment suite or illegal secret Jacuzzi. At the time, he apologized and assured voters the whole thing was his wife's idea (don't try that on Valentine's Day). Now Tang's in the wine news again, because Christie's is auctioning off part of that collection. It's all Burgundy and mostly newer stuff, but Tang's thrown in a few gold (and red) nuggets. There's a magnum of Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Vielles Vignes 1949 (estimate: $5,000 to $10,000), six magnums of Leflaive Montrachet 1992 ($52,000 to $77,000) and a magnum of Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 1978 ($14,000 to $21,000). But the stars are from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, including a Methuselah of 1971 La Tâche ($58,000 to $90,000) and the probable priciest lot, six magnums of Romanée-Conti 1995 at $90,000 to $129,000. For the right price, on March 15-16, these bottles could be your problem instead of Mr. Tang's.