Region: Bandol, France
Grapes: Mourvèdre (85%), Grenache, Cinsault
First Glance: Bramble, leather, fresh acidity and tight tannins - great ageability
Domaine Tempier is the most iconic standard-bearer for the Bandol appellation in Provence, on the Mediterranean coast in the south of France. When Lucie “Lulu” Tempier married Lucien Peyraud in 1936, her father gave them Domaine Tempier, an active farm that had been in the family since 1834. At that time there was no official appellation for Bandol, and the quality of wine being produced was wildly varied. It was largely thanks to the research and efforts of Lucien, that the INAO (governing body of French wine regions) gave Bandol official AOC recognition in 1941, and mandated that the high quality Mourvèdre grape must constitute at least 50% of the blend, thus giving the little region its status as an outpost for high-quality, structured reds and full bodied rosé, in what may at times seem like a veritable sea of light and quaffable pink wines. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, the legacy of the estate is continued by the talented Daniel Ravier, who continues to produce profound wines in the traditional style of the domaine, with depth, structure and great ageability as corner stones.
La Tourtine is a single site expression of approximately 80-85% Mourvèdre, with a balance of Grenache and Cinsault. The site sits atop a hill with full exposure to both the strong winds, but also the sun right from dusk till dawn. The soils are sandstone derived with both clay and marls in the top soils.
All grapes are harvested by hand, from fruit grown with a mix of biodynamic and organic practices. The fruit is destemmed before it is fermented with indigenous yeast in tanks for 3 - 4 weeks. After maceration, the wine is moved to large oak foudres for malolactic fermentation and ageing for 18 - 20 months, before being bottled unfined and unfitltered.
Due to both site and a slightly higher vine age (45-50 years), La Tourtine is more concentrated and structured than the Cuvee Classique, and will benefit greatly from bottle age, with the prospect of positive development upwards of 20 years or more.