WTN: Bandol, one of the world's great wines?

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WTN: Bandol, one of the world's great wines?

Postby Tim York » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:00 am

I've long wondered why Bandol figures on so few people's Mount Olympus of wines. Some recent TNs from others and these two bottles impel me to ask this out loud. Bandol from good growers like these combine Mediterranean warm flavour and spiciness with a classical shape, structure and lack of exaggeration which are for me hallmarks of great wine. I haven't found the same in any other wines from the French Mediterranean rim except Trévallon, Rayas and the occasional Mas Jullien.

The performance of the following is more praiseworthy because they come from the 1997 vintage which, though praised at the outset for Provençal Mourvèdre, has been subsequently decried.

Bandol 1997 – Château Vannières – Alc.13% - was beautifully focussed and elegant with a well developed bouquet showing rose, tar and Mediterranean herbs and a medium plus weight linear shaped body with mature fruit, secondary flavours, minerals, good acidity and ripe tannic support for the finish; 17/20.

Bandol Cuvée Spéciale La Migoua 1997 – Domaine Tempier - Alc.13.5% - was an interesting contrast being perhaps less finely focussed and less elegant but more powerful and complex. The nose was more subdued at first but developed rapidly showing similar aromas to the Vannières with a slightly darker coloration. The body was a tad fuller and more structured with greater depth and a broader shape with the flavour components in greater relief and comparatively disjointed. Equally fine in its different way; 17/20.
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Re: WTN: Bandol, one of the world's great wines?

Postby John S » Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:35 pm

I suspect it's the small size of the region that mainly limits its popularity. It seems to be around 1,100 ha (2,700 acres) in size, and part of the Provence region, which isn't exactly known for its high quality wines. Mourvedre isn't exactly a 'sexy' grape for most people (other than wine 'geeks'). And the need to age the wines also limits its popularity to some degree.

Just think, if it were more popular, it would be much more expensive!
"Tastes are perhaps first and foremost distastes, provoked by the disgust and visceral intolerance ... of the taste of others". Pierre Bourdieu (1984, p. 56)
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Re: WTN: Bandol, one of the world's great wines?

Postby Hoke » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:36 pm

I would add Neore to that list.

Iwould further add that Provence has many astonishingly good wines---it's just that most of them are roses which people foolishly fail to even consider, apparently feeling that force and density are more important than delicate persistence and laser-like precision.

Ah, but life is unfair and at least it keeps the cost down. :D
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Re: WTN: Bandol, one of the world's great wines?

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:35 pm

Hoke wrote:I would add Neore to that list.

Iwould further add that Provence has many astonishingly good wines---it's just that most of them are roses which people foolishly fail to even consider, apparently feeling that force and density are more important than delicate persistence and laser-like precision.

Ah, but life is unfair and at least it keeps the cost down. :D


Would that it did, Hoke. As much as I love Bandol in all colors (Mourvedre fan that I am), the rosés that arrive on these shores, mostly those of Tempier and Pibarnon, are priced too high for my budget. I can still get fine Bandol rouge from some of Kermit's stable for reasonable price, though.

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Re: WTN: Bandol, one of the world's great wines?

Postby Lars Carlberg » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:21 pm

Tim York wrote:I've long wondered why Bandol figures on so few people's Mount Olympus of wines. Some recent TNs from others and these two bottles impel me to ask this out loud. Bandol from good growers like these combine Mediterranean warm flavour and spiciness with a classical shape, structure and lack of exaggeration which are for me hallmarks of great wine. I haven't found the same in any other wines from the French Mediterranean rim except Trévallon, Rayas and the occasional Mas Jullien.

The performance of the following is more praiseworthy because they come from the 1997 vintage which, though praised at the outset for Provençal Mourvèdre, has been subsequently decried.

Bandol 1997 – Château Vannières – Alc.13% - was beautifully focussed and elegant with a well developed bouquet showing rose, tar and Mediterranean herbs and a medium plus weight linear shaped body with mature fruit, secondary flavours, minerals, good acidity and ripe tannic support for the finish; 17/20.

Bandol Cuvée Spéciale La Migoua 1997 – Domaine Tempier - Alc.13.5% - was an interesting contrast being perhaps less finely focussed and less elegant but more powerful and complex. The nose was more subdued at first but developed rapidly showing similar aromas to the Vannières with a slightly darker coloration. The body was a tad fuller and more structured with greater depth and a broader shape with the flavour components in greater relief and comparatively disjointed. Equally fine in its different way; 17/20.


Domaine Tempier La Migoua 1997 is a great wine. Unfortunately, I drank all my bottles of this wine years ago. It actually has a good percentage of Grenache too. Bandol is a beautiful appellation. In 2007, a good friend and I visited Tempier, Pibarnon, Pradeaux, and Gros'Noré. Vannières is more sleek. As in other regions, must weights rose in the late nineties, although 1999 was actually a lean, classic vintage. In 2000 and 2001, the wines were riper, including further north at Trévallon and Château Rayas.
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Re: WTN: Bandol, one of the world's great wines?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:55 pm

Bunan is about the only Bandol producer in these parts. London visits can be productive but really my tastes have moved on. :wink:
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