Food & Drink

Three Bottles That Celebrate the Bandol Wine Region

Though the ancient fishing village on the Mediterranean coast remains a relatively tiny part of French wine production—with barely 3,800 acres under vine—wine enthusiasts continue to take note of its influence.
—Taylor's Wine Shop via Facebook

Bandol is an ancient fishing village on the Mediterranean coast just a few kilometers east of Marseille in Provence. Wine-making tradition stretches back to the 16th century, although the Romans may have gotten an earlier start.

Bandol is unique as the only French wine-making region in which Mourvedre is the dominant red wine variety. It gained official status as an appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) in 1941. American chef Richard Olney released a cookbook based on his visits with Lulu Peyraud at Domaine Tempier, which drew a larger audience to this relatively obscure region. It remains a tiny part of French wine production today, with barely 3,800 acres under vine (Bordeaux, by contrast, is roughly 152,000 acres).

Below are three bottle recs to properly celebrate the region’s output.

Domaine Tempier Bandol Blanc
($60, Prestige Ladroit)

Domaine Tempier is considered by many wine enthusiasts to be the most important of Bandol’s producers. After all, it was founder Lucien Peyraud who led the charge to make Bandol an official wine region of France in the 1940s, and his wife, Lulu, was famous for championing its regional cuisine. Today, most of the accolades go to their reds and rosés, but the white should not be overlooked. It’s a blend of Clairette, Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, and Roussanne and offers notes of citrus, pear, and a hint of salinity that supports its lightly floral aromas.

Bedrock Wine Company Old Vine Rosé “Ode To Lulu” 2022
($35 750 ml, Free Run Wine Merchants)

We said we’d offer you a taste of Bandol but didn’t limit ourselves strictly to the wines of Bandol and here’s why—this delicious wine from Contra Costa County in California mimics the subtlety of Bandol rosé with admirable grace. Bedrock prides itself on making wines as naturally as they can from fruit fermented with native yeasts and minimally handled in the winery. Made mostly from Mourvedre, the rosé offers a stylish take on the pink stuff with notes of strawberries, raspberries, and mineral heft on the finish.

Mas Redonne Bandol Rouge “Bartavelles” 2020
($80 750 ml, Kysela Pere et Fils)

Founded in 1989, Mas Redonne is a relative newcomer to the Bandol region. This hasn’t stopped them from ascending to the forefront of the area’s top producers with owners Henri and Genevieve Tournier in command. The couple farm 12 hectares of mostly Mourvedre organically. The wines are vinified with native yeasts. It’s classic Bandol rouge, with notes of blackberry, black currant, and black raspberry with subtle minerality and a sturdy dollop of tannins.