Sour grapes: Inside Château Miraval’s ‘War of the Rosés

How a Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie's splashy Provence winery became the latest bargaining in an acrimonious divorce battle

Approved tactics from the playbook of recently divorced one-percenters tend to include dissecting neckties and incinerating tailored suits. They might also stretch to briefing the press about your former partner’s insufferable bathroom habits, or as Kim Kardashian demonstrated this year, becoming the face of a rival brand (Balenciaga) that is in competition with your ex-husband’s business (Yeezy). But even the most cynically experienced divorce lawyer could never have anticipated the current state of affairs between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

The dispute begins in the south of France, in the Linen Pantalons Triangle between St Tropez, Cannes and Aix-en-Provence. There, among the pines, is the Chateau Miraval, a country pile that looks like an advert from the glossy pages of Sotheby’s International Realty. It is a spread, near a village called Correns, which is perfect for wealthy buyers with a sophisticated taste in amenities. There is a helipad, a moat, a spa, two gyms, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, 400 hectares of land — 30 of which are used to grow organic rosé –– and 35 bedrooms in case the owners are called upon to host the next G7 summit at short notice. The property claims to have origins as far back as the 3rd century BC, if you believe an online brochure advertising the place. Nevertheless, its status as a site of legend has certainly been boosted by its recording studio where Pink Floyd, Sting and The Cranberries have worked their magic. It is estimated to be worth £123 million

hateau Miraval is also where, in 2014, Jolie and Pitt were married (the engagement ring alone cost $1 million) and melded into a new A-List entity known as Brangelina. They bought the place in the early years of their romance, and jointly owned it, separately pumping money into its wine business. That is, until she sold her stake last year, kicking off a legal battle that gives new meaning to the word acrimonious. 

How unfortunate that the scene of their fairytale wedding (their six children wrote the wedding vows) is now the subject of their icy uncoupling. Pitt’s civil case, filed in Los Angeles, says the couple agreed not to sell their stakes in the chateau without permission of the other. What has especially stuck in Pitt’s goatee is that Jolie, 46, sold her chunk of the estate to a Russian oligarch called Yuri Shefler. Quick briefing on Shefler: he is a drinks magnate whose portfolio includes Stolichnaya vodka and used to own Serene, one of the world’s largest superyachts — it has seven decks, two helipads and a submarine docking station, which was purchased by Mohammed bin Salman for €500 million.

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