I had a conversation with a fellow Bandol fan last night, at 67 Pall Mall in London. We exchanged ideas on the great wines of Bandol and the incredible differences between the wines, particularly interesting given the AOC is not large. We talked soil, and producers and years, decanting times and how wonderful Mourvedre is.
As Eric St Victor from Pibarnon told me, the grape is "the big tall guy that can dance". So having spent three wonderful years living near Bandol and sampling the wines almost daily in that time, here's my picks of the wines and years I liked the most (so far) in Bandol. I'm pretty sure ALL these wines are organic, and some are biodynamic. To be fair, you have to be pretty poor grape farmer NOT to be organic in Bandol, given the weather.
- Terrebrune (1999/2000/2001 are utterly amazing, particularly 99/01). Terrebrune is the most mineral, fascinating wine. So hard to get older vintages but stunning.
- Bastide Blanche (buy direct, really worth visiting) Buy the 2006 Magnums. The guy who runs it is super nice, he does the best tour. Bio-dynamic. Love his wine.
- Jean Pierre Gaussen (the 2006 is 23 Euros and incredible, best value bottle of wine in the world I think) The 2008 is good, but the 06… wow.
- Cisalette - great when aged. Same with L’Olivette – you can get older vintages from, if still available,http://www.maisondesvins-bandol.com/
- Suffrene (also interviewed on my blog at: http://sustainablewineblog.com/category/bandol/) – his wines are fantastic. One of my top five with Tempier, Terrebrune, Vannieries and Bastide Blanche. Check out the soils, totally different from Tempier, but only a few KMS away: http://sustainablewineblog.com/2016/06/15/cedric-gravier-of-domaine-la-suffrene-on-sustainable-wine-making-in-bandol/
- Le Galantin (the 1994 is still available in Magnum from the Maison Des Vins, it’s on its last legs but still drinks)
- Vivonne / Ray Jane – really Burgundian Bandols. They age a long time too.
- Vannieres (Superb and still great value, older vintages are possible to find. Try: 1983/90/99/01/98)
- Maubernard – great value entry level. Very approachable, even after only 5-6 years.
More on Bandol at: http://sustainablewineblog.com/category/bandol