About this WINE
If a naturally benevolent backdrop and a sense of history are anything to go by, as indeed they should be, then Domaine Tempier is well positioned as the leading Estate in the famous Mediterranean wine appellation of Bandol.
38 hectares of vines bask in a privileged amphitheatre, their maritime environment contributing to the unique climate first recognised by the Phoenicians as ideal for the cultivation of the grape. The pater familias figure of Lucien Peyraud has guided the property to its current pre-eminence, at the same time forging the precise laws of the AOC, which afford the wines so much personality and potential to age.
The leitmotif running through it all is the modish Mourvèdre grape, famously temperamental and inclined to perform only when its feet can paddle in the Mediterranean and its head can turn, in full heliotropic glory, to the sun.
The steep terraces, thankfully not claimed by the ever-expanding urbanisation, are ideal for these long-lived, rich and savoury wines, now in the capable hands of the régisseur Daniel Ravier. From the spectacular rosé, through to the four celebrated red cuvées, these are outstanding vins de garde. When I first visited I was a little early greeted by the charming widow, Madame Peyraud. She offered me a glass of rosé as we waited for Daniel and described with animation some of her favourite recipes, herself draining a rather large glass of Cuvée Classique in the process. It was only afterwards, to my astonishment, that I discovered that she was 95 years old.
Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer
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.
Mourvèdre, aka Monastrell in Spain, is a common blending partner of Syrah and Grenache (aka Garnacha in Spain). In Australia and California it can also appear under the name Mataro.
Mourvèdre's bastion in France is Bandol, where it reigns supreme in the red blends and yielding a savoury, gamey, herby wine. It also commonly features in Southern Rhône, Languedoc & Rousillon blends.
The grape needs a warm climate to ripen fully. Its stronghold in Spain are the appellations along the south-east Mediterranean(Murcia, Jumilla, Bullas), where it produces rosé, dry red and sweet fortified wines. Monastrell has played a significant part in Spain’s vinous heritage; it nurtures wines that are deep in colour and richly tannic, sometimes overbearing in their intensity and concentration