Bandol vineyard is situated between the small town La Ciotat and Toulon. Vines spread on rounding hills and alternate in small plain with sheer slopes covered with terrasses named there « restanques ». There’s a quite perfect unity in the type of ground, no altitude effects.
There’s is 700 ha planted in vines. That AOC is producing the 3 colours : red, rosé and white on 7 villages : le Beausset, la Cadière d’Azur, le Castellet, Evenos, Ollioule, Saint Cyr sur Mer, Sanary.
There’s no winery in the small town of Bandol that gave its name to the appellation. This harbour was the location where shipments took place to go oversea, hence wine from Bandol !
Production : 55 % as rosé, 40 % as red and 5 % as white, with more or less 50 wineries
Red must mature for 18 month at least before being released.
3 kinds of grounds, sandy-limestone, clayous-limestone or marl. Northern exposures are a good options to resist to the lack of water. Freshness is trump card to get more balanced wines, « lighter » in style.
One of the warmest part of France, with an exceptionnal amount of hours of sunshine. The average temperature are breacking record, that’s why Mouvèdre is thriving at Bandol (that’s a very difficult grape to ripe !). The proximity of the sea here is playing an incontestable role, the breeze is necessary to enable vines to resist drought to grow.
Grape varieties :
For whites : Clairette white and pink, Ugni white, Grenache white and Bourboulenc, that must amount to 60% at least of the blending. Secondary grape : Sauvignon.
For rosés and reds : Mourvèdre (at 50% of the blending), Cinsaut and Grenache noir. Secondary grape : Carignan and Syrah, Tibouren and Calitor (traditional local grapes that tend to be abandoned), they may represent 20% of the blending.
Wine styles :
Red has got a deep colour, to keep for a long time (up to 20 years for good vintages). Aromas recall pepper, cinnamon, black cherry, coffee dregs, leather. That very tanninc wines, powerful and heady, made for strong dishes based on red meat or stew, games, mushroom. It necessary to leave young wines in a decanter for two hours.
Rosés are fresh and fulbodied, pale colour almost orange like, fruity, supple, with sipcy and mineral flavours : it’s a rosé for gastronomy.
Whites are nervous and fresh exuding white flowers and white fruits fragrances, there are quite structured (alcohol and minerality) and has got a great deal of finesse.