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All wine, most of the time

MWG May 16th tasting (2/5): Pink Bandol

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Bandol 2011, Moulin des Costes, Domaine Bunan ($22.75, 11937974)
Organically farmed Cinsault (40%), Mouvèdre (35%) and Grenache (25%). Manually harvested. Directly pressed. The grape varieties are separately fermented in stainless steel vats for about two weeks. The wines are blended at the end of January and bottled in March. 14% ABV.
Spicy red grapefruit, nectarine and a little garrigue. Fairly dense and round. Quite dry. Minerals upfront, the fruit more in the background. Long, bitter-edged finish. Savoury and dimensional, a food wine, not a sipper. (Buy again? Yes.)

Bandol 2011, Cuvée India, Dupéré Barrera ($24.95, 11900805)
The first vintage of the pink version of this wine. Mourvèdre (60%) and Cinsault (40%). Manually harvested and sorted. The Mourvèdre is macerated one hour and then “bled” from the vat. The Cinsault is directly pressed. Fermented at low temperature. Matured seven months in stainless steel tanks. No malo, so filtered before bottling to prevent spontaneous malolactic fermentation in the flask. 13% ABV.
Minerals, dried herbs, subdued fruit and a whiff of alcohol. Fruitier and sweet-spicier than the other two rosés but in every other aspect lighter, rainwatery even. For several people around the table, this was the wine of the flight, but I found it one-dimenional. (Buy again? Probably not, especially given the price.)

Bandol 2011, La Bastide Blanche ($23.95, 11945317)
Biodynamically farmed Mourvèdre (60%), Cinsault (20%) and Grenache (20%). Manually harvested. The Mourvèdre is directly pressed, the Cinsault and Grenache are given a 24-hour maceration on the skins. The varieties are fermented separately with indigenous yeast in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The decision whether to allow malolactic fermentation is made on a parcel-by-parcel basis. Matured between five and ten months before bottling. 13.5% ABV.
Relatively closed nose of stone fruit, red berries, dusty herbs, minerals and a hint of pork/ham juice. Rich, smooth and dry but also fruity (blood orange!) and acid-bright. Some depth and good length, again with a lingering faint bitterness. Appetizing. (Buy again? Sure.)

A flight that didn’t push many tasters’ buttons. “I like rosés but these just don’t do it for me,” said one representative of the majority. As a longtime fan of Bandol rosés, I found them appealing. I suspect part of the problem for some is their austerity: like many Chiantis, these are wines that need food to show themselves at their best.  They’ll also benefit from another year or two of bottle age.

Written by carswell

May 27, 2013 at 09:38

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