When we think about wines from Provence, we immediately associate sunshine, the sea, summertime and rosé wines. This makes sense considering that 80% of the wines from Provence are rosés. A key title of Provence is Bandol, which is located between Marseille and Toulon, facing the Mediterranean Sea. Bandol rosés account for about a third of the total output in the market and are known for their spicy and earthy characteristics that rank among the more unique rosés France has to offer.
The most common grape used in Bandol is Mourvèdre, which gives the wine its spicy characteristic and powerfully rich flavor. The success of the grape will only ripen reliably a sunny and warm climate, like that of the Mediterranean coast. The second and third most common grape used on Bandol rosés are Grenache and Cinsault. The Grenache grape gives red fruit flavors, such as raspberry and strawberry, and a subtle white pepper spice note. Grenache also tends to bring balance and aromatic concentration. The Cinsault grape lends a freshness and lightness to rosés. Mediterranean and spicy dishes pair very well with this style of wine.
At ABC Fine Wines & Spirits we are proud to have in our portfolio two wines from Bandol: Domaine de Frégate Bandol Rosé and Château de Pibarnon Rosé.
Domaine de Frégate produces about 75,000 bottles per harvest. During production after de-stemming and crushing, the grapes go through a process of direct pressing and cooling. Domaine de Frégate Bandol Rosé is made with the three main grape varieties grown in Bandol: Mourvèdre for structure and character, Grenache for balance and an aromatic bouquet, and Cinsault for its lighter touch. Rich with aromas of red berries, citrus and spice, this wine is a perfect pairing with grilled meats and fish dishes, and will shine alongside spicy Asian dishes.
A blend of 65% Mourvedre, and 35% Cinsault, Château de Pibarnon Rosé opens with a lovely bouquet of citrus fruit and nice notes of bitterness; the palate is bright and fresh. The grape Mourvèdre, coming from calcareous soils, brings power and elegance to this blend, while Cinsault offers more roundness, juice and fruit. This Bandol rosé has received good scores from various critics (the recent 2014 vintage received a 90-point rating by Wine Spectator!). This year was a huge year for rosés and I don’t blame it. The wine is delicious, refreshing and pairs very fine with Florida’s hot weather and cuisine.
Ed Vega, Wine & Spirits Specialist – Winter Park