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The wines of Provence have been somewhat neglected at BBR, so it is with great pleasure that in 2012 we have started to work some of the very top Domaines, one being Gros’Noré, whose winemaking style is affording a comprehensive and fascinating perspective of that most modish of black grapes, Mourvèdre. Domaine Gros’Noré is close to the sea, located in the village of La Cadière D’Azur, its clay-limestone soils etched into a natural amphitheatre which provides a unique microclimate where the Mediterranean air-currents do gentle battle with the latent Mistral and forge the most pleasing maritime conditions. Add to this the clarity of the light and the Cezanne colours, and, in the character of winemaker Alain Pascal, a gentleman who has walked straight out of a Pagnol novella, and the scene is set perfectly. Vincent Avril at Clos Des Papes (who aspires to have more Mourvèdre in his blend) likes to personify the grape variety thus; ‘it must have its feet near to the sea and its head close to the sun’. In Bandol, it is clearly in its element. Alain has rebuilt his father’s old winery by hand. His father was, how shall we put this, of a not modest stature and the name of the property is a specific, affectionate reference to his girth. The winemaking is natural, taking advantage of ‘marine humidity’ and plenty of sunshine, and the grapes are not always de-stemmed. There are no added yeasts and fining and filtration are avoided. If this is a traditional wine style Bandol, then this tradition must be up-held. The word ‘rustic’ is not inevitably pejorative when used by the French to describe their wines. It most certainly is not in this case. This is a marvellous property, with a huge following in France, and one which we are delighted to introduce to the UK market. Simon Field MW, BBR Wine Buyer
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Bottle 6 x 75cl