Domaine Tempier | Estate in the Bandol AOC in the Provence region of France

Vintages | 2007 ‘A small crop of excellent quality,’ (Roy Richards, May 2009). ‘Another drought year, with only 35% of normal rainfall (based on an average of the last 20 years). The consequences are a very significant drop in production and also an incidence of mortality in the vineyards. The harvest started on the 23rd August for the rosé and finished with the reds on 20th September. This hydric stress did not, perversely, exert a deleterious effect on the wines. Quite the opposite: the wines are both dense and powerful, but with enough volume and fat to cover the tannins and give a very promising balance. Although the fruit was clearly concentrated by the drought, the vines reached perfect maturity thanks to a summer without excessive heat and fairly cool night temperatures. This has given us a great vintage, but sadly with much reduced quantities. 2007 will be remembered as the driest year since the end of the Second World War (if not even earlier according to some with longer memories) but also, à priori, as an exceptional vintage,’ says Daniel Ravier (in (Roy Richards, May 2009).

2008 ‘2008 is not, in my mind, as great as either 2007 or 2006, but probably is superior to 2005,’ (Roy Richards, May 2009). Daniel Ravier says ‘2008 started off with a serious deficit in the water table thanks to the drought of 2007. In such conditions, what we needed was a wet winter to reconstitute the grapes. This regrettably was not the case and the ensuing spring whilst rainy as usual, didn’t do much to top up the levels, although it did allow the vines to kick off the growing cycle successfully. Mildew was rife, especially on the leaves, but we managed to control it with herbal and copper sulphate treatments. Fortunately the grapes were scarcely affected. It should also be said that it got very dry again at the beginning of June and stayed so, almost up to the end of the harvest. Once the mildew threat had passed, we then had to cope with oidium which we controlled with sulphur. This dry summer combined with the depleted water reserves had extreme consequences for the vines, leading to even lower yields than in 2007 and an apparent breakdown in photosynthesis from the beginning of August. That the vines managed to produce fairly well balanced grapes came as a great surprise to us. The vintage is surprisingly fresh with a really good concentration, albeit not in the same league as 2007. It is almost as though the vines were able to benefit from the relatively cool nights by absorbing humidity through their foliage. Another unusual vintage, which will end up surprising the doubters by the quality of its fruit,’ (Daniel Ravier in Roy Richards, May 2009).

White wines

Bandol Blanc AOC | 2007 ‘Even fewer cases than normal unfortunately, as it is delicious: rich, yet incredibly vivacious. Grapefruit and citrus aromas dominate at this stage, although there are some floral notes and a light creaminess from the oak. Needs a bit of time to develop and show its full potential,’ (Roy Richards, May 2009).

Pink wines

Bandol Rosé AOC | 2008 ‘A wonderful pale salmon pink colour, strawberry and sherbert on the nose with a hint of peach. Crisp and refreshing on the palate with a distinct minerality that accompanies the fruit. A rosé for connoisseurs – you will not want to share it,’ (Roy Richards, May 2009).

Red wines

Bandol Rouge AOC, Cuvée Classique | 2007 ‘Deep concentration, predominantly black fruit and flowers. Lovely freshness on the palate, more redcurrant and cherry fruit. Long mineral finish,’ (Roy Richards, May 2009).

Bandol Rouge AOC, Cuvée Migoua | 2007 ‘More floral, aromatic and heady. Surprisingly accessible, very silky and lots of matière. Wild and feminine – this wine is seriously seductive,’ (Roy Richards, May 2009).

Bandol Rounge AOC Cuvée Tourtine | 2007 ‘More discreet and quite different to the Migoua – less wild. More tension and pure black fruit on first taste but this became more powerful as the wine opened up. Very velvety tannins, (‘Roy Richards, May 2009).

Bandol AOC Cuvée Cabassaou | 2007 ‘Unusually elegant and balanced at this early stage, although you are much more aware of the tannins. Still very fine. Was quite expressive the day we tasted; floral, mineral and very concentrated, (‘Roy Richards, May 2009).

Bibiography

Roy Richards, ‘A southern excursion, 2008 Rhone and Beyond’, (Richards Walford, May 2009).