In Provence red wines are considered as “Grand cru”. Few reasons to this: Mourvedres’s dominance; the exceptional nature of the soil, although very varied; the ages of vines, old in average. And finally the ageing style of the Bandol AOC: wines are aged in casks and demi-muids for a minimum of 18 months. Mandatory condition for these wines considered rough in their first years.
The main grape variety of the blends Mourvedre (60% to 95%) signs the best wines.
Four main wine-making styles:
Once put on the side the cuvées with animal aromas, many wines stand out by their perfect expression of the Mourvedre grape.Bandols wines of Château Pradeaux, Jean-Pierre Gaussen, Lafran-Veyrolles or La Bastide Blanche show a muscular profile, and a certain nobleness.
In their first years the best vintages stand out by their virility and youthfulness. Then express their spicy complexity between 5 to 15 years.
Domaine Tempier and La Tour du Bon encapsulate the finess and subtle character of Mourvedre’s grapes, coming from a warm terroir and producing tasty and hearthy wines.
Due to a more modern ageing style (the proportion of new wood being more important) the wines of Gros’Noré, La Bégude, or La Suffrène domains are more rounded in their youths.
Finally, thanks to fresher terroirs, reds wines from Terrebrune and Château Sainte-Anne offera pure, nuanced and very deep expression of the cepage when it gets older.
For some estates who renewed their casks and barrels since a decade, many red wines are still characterized by their ageing process for the recent vintages.
However, some domains such as Sainte-Anne, La Bastide Blanche, Terrebrune or Château Vannières, keep their bottled wines for a few years so that they can relax before marketing.
Certain winemakers advocate for the possibility to a shorter or longer maturing time and try other types of containers such as concrete or amphora-type. As seen at La Tour du Bon estate. Opening up new perspectives on wine making practices in Bandol.
(source: rvf magazine)