Situated on the southern coast of France in the heartland of Provence, the vineyards of Bandol specialise in bold red wines made mainly from Mourvedre, a thick-skinned grape that needs the warmth and sun of the South to ripen to perfection late in the growing season. To compliment the Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan grapes are also used in the blend. Bandol tends to have high levels of tannin and alcohol with full body and intense flavour, so the wines are known for their longevity, often continuing to evolve and develop up to 10 years after bottling. This is a super wine, with dark fruits, impressive structure and intense flavour. Ripe blackberry and herb aromas are followed by notes of vanilla, leather and wild herbs. The palate is full, with firm, juicy tannins and a long finish, full of ripe rich flavour.
Along with the majority of vineyards in Europe, the region of Bandol was significantly affected by the phylloxera outbreak in the late 19th century. This resulted in the the majority of the existing vines being uprooted and from then on, the local wine growers, given the natural climate, focussed on Mourvedre which had been used as a blending grape in the Rhone region. Cedric Gravier manages Domaine Le Suffrene in La Cadiere d’Azur, a village in the Bandol wine area of Provence, having taken over the estate in 1996 from his Grandfather. This is 55% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache, 15% Cinsault and 10% Carignan. ABV 15%. The soils are a limestone base, with other silty, clay and stony varieties. The grapes are harvested by hand and spend 48 hours pre fermentation in cold maceration (12-14 degrees Celsius) followed by 3-4 weeks in concrete or stainless steel vats. It has the potential to age up to 10 years in half bottle. They are currently converting to organic agriculture (their first organic harvest is 2021) but the vineyard has been managed for the last 10 years following organic practices.
This wine will certainly benefit from decanting for an hour to soften the tannins. A great companion for a BBQ, gamey meats including venison and burgers. 15% ABV.