We started the Provence tour with our traditional welcome dinner and had as our guest Pascal Courbard of Chateau Beaupré (Aix en Provence AOC) who whetted our appetites for more.
We started the next day by concentrating on Bandol, with our first stop at Domaine Tempier, one of the top 3 Bandol estates. We had a VIP tour and tasting and then proceeded to Chateau Vannieres for a tour and lunch with the owner and winemaker. And what wines we had for lunch! We started with their white, a blend of bourbalenc and clairette. Then we had the rosé a blend of grenache (40%) cinsault (40%) and mourvedre (20%).
But Bandol is known for its mourvedre based red wines and we were treated to a vertical tasting from 2006, 1998, 1992, 1990, 1988, and 1983! Jean Philippe Fourney has been the winemaker for the past 10 years and owner Claudette Boisset is fortunate to have such a talented enologist.
We capped off the day with a visit to another one of the top 3 Bandol wineries: Chateau Pradeaux. The rustic appearance of the facilities belies a really serious winery that produces superb wines. Owner/winemaker Cyrille Portalis conducted a tasting that started with the rosé, a 50/50 blend of cinsault and mourvedre- delightful.
We then proceeded to a remarkable vertical tasting of the 2005, 2004, 1989 and 1988. Our unanimous consensus: Bandol rouge has great aging potential and mourvedre is its star.