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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bandol Uncorked: 2010 Domain Tempier Bandol Rosé

“In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.” ― Vincent Willem van Gogh

It was just about three weeks ago now, that I encountered wonderful expression of a Bandol Rosé, from one of Provence's oldest wineries, Domain Tempier. Mrs. Cuvee and I were dining in Paso Robles and we had booked a reservation with Bistro Laurent. We brought in a bottle of 2007 Justin Vineyards & Winery Isosceles Reserve, a wine which failed to wow many reviewers. An opinion I later shared that evening, it was not ready to drink at present, but I'm thinking a bit more time in the bottle, will help smooth out the rough spots. So my first impression of the wine is a solid 90 points, drinking a bit tight now, not in "wow" territory, still the potential is good, I've five more so I'll let you know later. Now, what was really great about our experience at BL, was the fact that the owner, told us he would have the chef pair our meal around the bottle we brought in, we looked at each other stunned, thinking "really"? "Wow, so okay let's do this".

We wanted to be adventurous, so we cast off our fears and leaned into his suggestion. When we inquired about the "corkage", we then thought it would be best to grab a bottle from the list instead to save the corkage against the price of an extra bottle. When we know it's going to be a two bottle night, we like to start with a rosé, we asked for a recommendation and the first words out of his mouth was how about Domain Tempier, I looked at Mrs. Cuvee who nodded in knowing approval that we were down for what turned out to be a wonderful gastronomic experience. I'm not just saying that because it sounds "cool" it's because our dining experience that night was in a word, "wow" far more than simply just dining out. The chef brought the house, it was so fantastic, I wanted to pinch myself.

But my experience at Bistro Laurent is not the subject of today's review; however without their solid wine recommendation and our willingness to be adventurous eaters, I may have not had this, opportunity to write this review, especially with an apt quote from Mr.Van Gogh. One of histories most under appreciated great artists during his life, but who is now celebrated as one of the "masters" of impressionism. A great artist who took his own life, and robbed us all of what could have been an amazing body of work.


I bring this up, because Van Gogh spent a good portion of his short-life in Provence; in a town called Arles, which sits on the left bank of the Rhone, painting the world as only he was uniquely able to see it. Paintings which beckon us all back to bygone era when artistic impressionism was making its impact and reminding us that seeking new adventures is part of the excitement in life. It's also a possibility that Van Gogh, had slurped down his own share of wines from Domaine Tempier, as their family has been in the wine business in Provence since 1835. It's also not a stretch of the imagination to think that perhaps; Van Gogh took some of his inspiration from the beautiful wines of which may have sparked his insatiable thirst for seeing life’s music via a palette of colors.

Now for the wine in today's review spotlight, it's the 2010 Domain Tempier Bandol Rosé, one of the finest examples of this style of rosé that I've come across in a long time. I will warn you right now, these wines are not the fluffy uber pink stuff you see on many supermarket shelves, oh-no this style of rosé is the "real" deal. You may like that other stuff and you're welcome to it [here's your straw]. This folks is a serious foodie, wine, the pairing opportunities are virtually endless. This Bandol which my wife and I slurped down some three weeks ago now, really wowed us both, however [moment of honesty] the price really didn't, as we spent a crisp new "Grant" on that bottle. This was one for the record books, thee most money I ever spent for a rosé, was it worth the price of admission? At $50 I'd have to say emphatically no, but in the retail price realm, I'd buy it again and again.

What I did find out is that bottle does sell for about $30-35 outside of the restaurant, so not too much of a mark-up. In the glass as you can see from the picture which I took with my phone in low-light, a brilliant salmon color. The nose is very inviting, like a wave of summer time potpourri; dried roses, ripe peach, newly ripened strawberries and subtle orange rind, or other undefined citrus notes. After the first splash down, you'll find a dry, but full-bodied, layered with a florals, ripe peach, strawberry zing and citrus, great acidity to balance the ample fruit from this blend produced from 50% Mourvedre, 40% Cinsault, and 10% Grenache. A little factoid, all the  rosés from Bandol must contain at least 50% Mo-ved, to be street legal. Mouvedre is the signature grape of the Bandol AOC region. I scored this wine 92 points, ripe, rich and elegant, a rosé built to age, or to be enjoyed in its infancy with all the fun, fresh flavors of a summer day. Food pairing recommendation; we dived headlong into a smoked salmon dish, reclining upon a bed of lentils, off the hook. Until next time my friends, continue to sip long and prosper, cheers!
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