Hollywood actor John Malkovich’s wine range, made from grapes grown at his home in Provence, has been taken on in the UK by fine wine merchant Jeroboams.
Malkovich and his longterm partner, Nicole Peyran, first planted vines at their farmhouse in the Vaucluse region in south-east France in 2008, and produced their first vintage in 2011.
Unusually for Provence, Malkovich’s organic estate is planted at a low density with four hectares of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon on deep clay soils on the site of an ancient lake.
The In the Line of Fire star produces five wines under the Les Quelles de la Coste label – LQLC for short, including a Cabernet rosé, a Pinot Noir and an audacious blend of Cabernet and Pinot called Les 14 Quelles, of which just 600 bottles are made a year.
The 2017 vintage of Les 14 Quelles is a blend of 60% Cabernet and 40% Pinot aged for nine months in new French oak.
“Our first winemaker saw the idea of blending Cabernet and Pinot Noir as a unique selling point and suggest that we call the wine ‘Dangerous Liaison’. I said, why don’t we not do that – that sounds like a perfectly horrific notion,” Malkovich told db in an exclusive interview.
“In fact we did do it, but it’s not at all what I thought it would be. I thought the blend would be way too bold, but the Cabernet isn’t over-dominant.
“The idea sounded nuts to me at first but it turned out to be not so nuts after all. Who would have anticipated that? Certainly not me,” he added.
The three-tier range starts at £14.95 for the rosé and ‘second’ wine Les 7 Quelles, with the single varietal Cabernet and Pinot priced at £24.95, and top drop Les 14 Quelles 2017, which will go on sale at Jeroboams in October, retailing at £45 a bottle.
All five wines fall under the IGP Vaucluse denomination. Last year, Malkovich brought in Swiss-born, Ireland-based Ralf Hogger, who previously worked for Sting’s Tuscan winery Tenuta il Palagio, to look after global exports.
At the same time, the actor employed Jean Natoli, who has been described as “the Michel Rolland of southern France”, as consultant winemaker for LQLC, which currently has an annual production of around 18,000 bottles.
“Both my Pinot and Cabernet are sort of oddly in the American style rather than a European style – a bit bigger, juicier and more fruit forward. I’d always prefer a Pinot from the Russian River Valley in California or the Willamette Valley in Oregon to Burgundy,” Malkovich told db.
The full interview will appear in the September issue of the drinks business.