Located between Marseille and Toulon, Bandol is one of the best sub-appellations of Provence, which stretches from the port of Marseille all the way to the Italian border.
Provence is more famous as the Riviera where the rich and famous gather to relax or conduct business. Tourism is important here, but so is gastronomy, featuring seafood, tomatoes, garlic, seasonal vegetables and fruits.
Generally, Provence’s rose wines are better known, but Bandol with its deeply flavored wines represents are exceptional. Here mourvedre (monastrell in Spain and mataro in California) yields wines of character, but only if vignerons keep yield low and have the right terroir.
The best Bandol wines are dark, with intense flavors of dark cherries and spicy overtones. They are soft with integrated tannins and can be cellared for many years.
Bandols are best consumed with beef and/or game stews, cold cuts, pastas with meat sauces, pizzas, and terrines. Mourvedre can be both big and elegant – a claim that cannot be made by many wines.
Mourvedre thrives in Bandol and gives its best because of sparse rainfall (less than 50 cm per year), abundant sunshine, and well-drained soils.
Red Bandols must be cask aged for a minimum of 18 months, and contain, at least 50 percent mourvedre.
Bandol’s modern history began in 1941 when the late Lucien Peyrand of Domain Tempier helped gain Appellation controlle (AOC) status for the region. His son Jean-Marie continued to improve the quality of the Domain Tempier, and has now turned over the responsibility to his regisseur.
La Tour du Bon, Domaine du Gros Nore, and Domaine La Suffrene are also well known for their superb wines.