The appellation, a small enclave adjacent toCôtes de Provence, takes its name from the small fishing village of Bandol, which was once a port that flourished with the region’s wine trade. The area has a long history of wine production and, ever since the Phylloxera epidemic in the late 18th century, has concentrated its efforts on the Mouvèdre grape. This late-season, red grape has always been grown in the area and is well suited to the terroir in Bandol.
Bandol is predominantly coastal. The soils (consisting of limestone and silicon) are dry, but the vineyards (usually planted on hilltops) receive moisture from the rain and the sea. Mechanical harvesting is banned throughout the region.
Bandol growers have a saying: ‘one vine, one bottle’; hence the region has the lowest yields in France. Yet the area has established a reputation that goes beyond French borders as the best ambassador of quality wine for Provence.
Bandol red is Mourvèdre-dominated, stimulating, mouth-filling, flavoursome, well-structured and age-worthy. The wine is distinguished by deep colour and intense flavours of black fruit, vanilla, spicy concentration and meaty notes. It is aged in oak for 18 months and drinks well from an early age, but has the potential to improve for up to a decade.
Bandol also produces a small quantity of white wines, consumed locally, mostly from Clairette, Bourboulenc and Ugni Blanc, as well as earthy rosés – mainly from Grenache and Cinsault.