Their winemaking influence extends from Provence to the US West coast and they have worked with figures as varied as Nicolas Jaboulet and Brad Pitt, which is why Decanter has awarded Jean-Pierre and Francois Perrin of Chateau Beaucastel the Decanter Men of the Year accolade for 2014.
Jean-Pierre and Francois Perrin
The Perrin brothers have jointly claimed the annual prize in its 30th anniversary year, joining other illustrious figures such as Robert Mondavi, Angelo Gaja, Aubert de Villaine and Professor Emile Peynaud.
Building upon their father’s legacy, Jean-Pierre and Francois Perrin ‘have dedicated themselves to elevating the reputation not only of the Perrin name, but of the Rhone and its grapes, around the world,’ writes Decanter correspondent Jane Anson in the newly released April issue of Decanter magazine, where the award was first announced.
The brothers, a decade apart in age, were somewhat thrust to the sharp end of business at Beaucastel after the sudden death of their father, Jacques, in 1978.
But, they determined to continue his work. ‘He preserved the identity of the [Rhone] region, championed local varieties and followed biodynamic principles in the 1970s – 30 years ahead of his time,’ said Francois Perrin, in an interview with Decanter.
‘We felt an obligation to succeed in his memory.’ The 1989 creation of Hommage a Jacques Perrin, the most celebrated Beaucastel Cuvee, is a reflection of this.
After spending several years expanding in the Rhone, by buying plots of vines in villages including Cairanne, Gigondas and Rasteau, the Perrins began to look further afield to new ventures.
Their search took them to California, and eventually to Paso Robles, where they are now recognised as key instigators of what has become the Rhone Rangers movement on the US West Coast.
‘California was driven by single varieties, but we believed that a blend of Rhone grapes would work best,’ Francois said.
Have there been many family tensions along the way? ‘There was never any rivalry between us,’ said Francois. ‘We simply bought competencies together.’
Read Jane Anson’s full interview with the Perrin brothers in the April issue of Decanter magazine, out now. Get the digital version of the magazine here.
Decanter Men and Women of the Year, 1984-2014:
2014 Jean-Pierre and Francois Perrin
2013 Gerard Basset MS MW OBE
2012 Paul Symington, Portugal
2011 Giacomo Tachis, Italy
2010 Aubert de Villaine, Burgundy
2009 Nicolás Catena, Argentina
2008 Christian Moueix, Bordeaux
2007 Anthony Barton, Bordeaux
2006 Marcel Guigal, Rhône
2005 Ernst Loosen, Mosel
2004 Brian Croser, Adelaide Hills
2003 Jean-Michel Cazes, Bordeaux
2002 Miguel Torres, Penedès
2001 Jean-Claude Rouzaud, Champagne
2000 Paul Draper, California
1999 Jancis Robinson MW OBE, London
1998 Angelo Gaja, Piedmont
1997 Len Evans OBE AO, Australia
1996 Georg Riedel, Austria
1995 Hugh Johnson OBE, London
1994 May-Eliane de Lencquesaing, Bordeaux
1993 Michael Broadbent MW, London
1992 André Tchelistcheff, California
1991José Ignacio Domecq, Jerez
1990 Prof Emile Peynaud, Bordeaux
1989 Robert Mondavi, California
1988 Max Schubert, Australia
1987 Alexis Lichine, Bordeaux
1986 Marchese Piero Antinori, Tuscany
1985 Laura & Corinne Mentzelopoulos, Bordeaux
1984 Serge Hochar, Lebanon
Written by Decanter.com staff