Bandol – A Provençal Red for the Winter Table #Winophiles

French Winophiles Return to Provence
Our French Winophiles group has virtually visited Provence on a couple of prior occasions (here and here), but we’re always happy to return. What’s not to love about the beautiful countryside, stellar weather, classic culture and delicious food? This month we’re back with an open invitation to explore any aspect of Provençal life. Scroll down farther in this post for a list of links to all my fellow French Winophiles writers’ dreams of Provence.

Bandol
Provence is best known for the pale and refreshing rosé emblematic of the region. However, white and red wines are also produced with a few communities featuring non-rosé wines (although they usually do make some rosé as well). Bandol is a small community east of Marseilles directly overlooking the Mediterranean sea. The flagship grape of Bandol is Mourvèdre, a red grape that loves a long, warm/hot summer. It’s a perfect match for Provence. Mourvèdre produces a deeply colored wine with with dark berry flavors like blueberry & blackberry. The wines are usually high in alcohol with very firm tannins. Bandol red wines must be over 50% Mourvèdre and aged in oak. Rosé from Bandol also features Mourvèdre and tends to be bold in comparison to typical Provençal rosés.

Château Vannières Bandol 2001

Château Vannières Bandol AOP 2001 ($48 locally at France 44) 13% abv
Eye: Deep Tawny
Nose: Medium plus intensity aromas of dried flowers and dried fruits – blueberries, prunes, raisins, dusty books, leather, anise, mushrooms, forest floor.
Mouth: Dry, medium acidity, high very fine grained tannins, medium plus body, medium alcohol, medium plus flavor intensity, medium plus finish. Flavors echo the nose with multiple dried fruits, leather, anise.
Observations: Mellowed by age, this wine still carries a very firm, astringent backbone.

Cassoulet
This cassoulet recipe comes from David Lebovitz, a popular blogger and cookbook writer. I used his recipe for both counterfeit duck legs confit and cassoulet from his “My Paris Kitchen“; my favorite French cookbook and in fact, one of my favorite cookbooks. Cassoulet is at least an overnight and day long affair, perhaps a bit easier if you spread it over two full days. I made a half recipe and we’ll still get 6 or so hearty meals from it. It’s a perfect, warming meal for cold winter days even more-so with a well structured red wine, like Château Vannières Bandol.

Provence Posts from Fellow Winophiles
Take a look below at all the great Provence ideas from my fellow French Winophiles. If a big red wine isn’t what you’re in the mood for, you’ll see lots of rosé ideas as well. After reading a few posts, why not check in on our chat? We’ll be on Twitter at #Winophiles on Saturday, January 15 from 10:00-11:00 am CST. We hope you’ll join us!

Comments
4 Responses to “Bandol – A Provençal Red for the Winter Table #Winophiles”
  1. I just want to jump into those photos in Provence! Wow, a 2001 Bandol; honestly, I don’t have much experience in food pairings with older vintages, any tips?

  2. Lynn says:

    Haven’t had a Bandol rouge in some time. Did this one stain your teeth?!?

  3. That last shot is beautiful. And the cassoulet has me drooling. Yum!

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