Stars of the wine world have descended on the Rhone to celebrate the region's Perrin brothers, of Chateau de Beaucastel, jointly receiving the Decanter Man of the Year award.
Steven Spurrier (centre) hands the Decanter Man of the Year trophies to Francois Perrin(left) and his older brother, Jean-Pierre
Several past winners, including Georg Riedel, Ernst Loosen, Aubert de Villaine, Jean-Michel Cazes and Angelo Gaja, were among guests watching on as Jean-Pierre and Francois Perrin received their prize from Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp at a lavish dinner held at Beaucastel last night (3 September).
The Perrins have the added kudos of winning in the 30th anniversary year of the award, which recognises outstanding contributions to wine, whether it be winemaking, wine service or writing.
‘I’m not sure if it is deserved,’ said Francois Perrin, displaying the humility that both he and his older brother, Jean-Pierre, have come to be known for.
‘To mention only two of us would be wrong, for in reality it is the entire family we are recognising this evening,’ he told guests ahead of a six-course dinner in the cellars of Chateau de Beaucastel.
Jean-Pierre said receiving the award was a great honour.
More than 20 members of the Perrin family were present for the dinner, during which guests were treated to a Beaucastel ‘rouge’ from 1970 and a Beaucastel Roussanne ‘Vieilles Vignes’ from 1986.
Although a decade apart in age, the Perrin brothers came together after the death of their father, Jacques, in 1978. Jacques Perrin was a champion of Rhone grape varieties and of biodynamic principles and his sons ‘felt obliged to succeed in his memory’, they said in an interview with Decanter magazine earlier this year, when their award was first announced.
Since taking on Beaucastel, the Perrins’ ambition has seen them invest heavily in the estate and buy plots of vines across the Rhone, including in Cairenne, Gigondas and Rasteau. They also strongly influenced the beginning of the Rhone Rangers movement in California.
More recently, they began working with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to produce rose wine at the celebrity couple’s nearby Chateau Miraval.
‘This award is for people who have changed and improved the wine world for the better,’ said Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp, addressing guests at last night’s dinner.
‘The Rhone has never been held in such high esteem by wine lovers across the globe, and you have inspired your neighbours with your quest for quality.’