The Maison des Vins sits 22 Allée Vivien in Bandol (phone: 04 94 29 45 03), right in front of the cute port where strollers look at the small boats and the yatchs. It is actually just in front of a carousel. The tastin house is not big, but large enough to let you taste free of charge the Bandol wines of the selection : 27 Chateaux and Domaines, which in total makes several dozens of wines, with the whites, reds and rosés.... The place is air-conditioned, which can be refreshing in region where summers are usually very hot.
Like in the other Maisons des Vins in France, the wines of the selection change regularly so that you can drop there again and not taste the same wines.
Pascal Perier who manages the Maison des Vins de Bandol does a very good job. He has tons of informations about the wines and the different Domaines, the style of the vintners, the soils, the local grape varieties. He spends additional time year around in the vineyards , taking pictures and notes that you can read in his website : maisondesvins-bandol.com. Also, you can browse among many pictures as well as maps. To see his pictures, click on each picture in the banner. His extensive knowledge on the Bandol wines & estates is very helpful for the visitors. Spending time here and tasting the wines of the day will help you decide which winery to visit thereafter. He personnally met each of them and has a seen how they work in their respective vineyards and on the vinification side.
__1__ Domaine de la Laidiere Bandol rosé 2003 . 13°. 60% Mourvèdre and the rest in Cinsault & Grenache. Light wine. Fruity. Aperitif or for a meal. Flavoured. The estate is located in Sainte Anne d'Evenos. Soil is rich in silica (clay & sand), very typical of this estate. Elsewhere it is more like a clay-limestone soil. 12,5 Euro.
__2__Chateau Rochebelle Bandol rosé 2003. 40% Mourvèdre, the rest in Cinsault & Grenache. Located in La Cadiere d'Azur, at a short distance. 10 Euro. Pascal Perier tells us that in the region, the "vin de pays" (wine not labelled under the Bandol Appellation) is named "vin de pays du Mont Come". This is either for the vineyards which are located in valleys, or when, even though they sit in the Bandol Appellation area, the vines are still too young : Bandol rosé wine needs to be made from 5-year-old minimum-age vines, and for Bandol reds 7-year minimum. Yield is 40 hectoliters/hectare maximum for Bandol wines, and 80 ho/ha for a "vin de pays". Thus the different price level.
Bandol grape varieties are Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah. Reds need 50% minimum Mourvèdre. Not rosés.
__3__Chateau Salettes Bandol rosé 2003. 13,5°. Stronger in alcohol, as the first one. Fruity. 13,1 Euro. Located in La Cadiere d'Azur. Red tile colour. B. says : Very gastronomic type of wine.
__4__Chateau La Rouvière Bandol rosé 2002. 14°. 13 Euro. 6-hectare estate on the Castellet slopes, oriented to the south. Old vines with low yields on terraced vineyards. steep terrain. 79% Mourvèdre. Now , we taste the reds :
__5__Domaine de Terrebrune red 2002. 13°. The most tannic and the strongest of Bandol wines. On the fruit like often for the 2002 Bandols. At least 18 months in old casks (usually in big-capacity foudres). Located in Ollioules. 15 Euro. Usually elegant wines at Terrebrune. Soil is red clay. Hand harvest, no chemical fertilizers. The Domaine follows the Quality Chart "Qualenvi".
__6__Chateau de Pibarnon Bandol red 2001. 90% Mourvèdre 10% Grenache. 14°. La Cadiere d'Azur. Maybe the most well known of the Bandols. 25 Euro. Nice nose . Vineyards sitting on a terraced amphitheater. Stones. Sea in the background.
__7__Domaine de l'Olivette Bandol red 1997 . 70% Mourvèdre, the rest in Grenache, Cinsault. Very nice year in Bandol. The 1997 Bandols begin to be rare . Located in Le Castellet. 13,5°. 15,3 Euro. Long laying down potential. Bandol wines on the whole can be forgotten in the cellar many years.
__8__Chateau Jean Pierre Gaussen Bandol red 2000 "Longue Garde" (means long laying down). 98% Mourvèdre. More black than red. Very long "cuvaison" here. Rotary vats. Hand harvest. At the foot of La Cadiere d'Azur. Total destemming. Nice wine. Burned wood, pine resin. Good with wild boar, grilled tuna, and also with a mediterranean fish (and dish) named Rouget, or "Becasse de mer", and which is cooked non gutted.
__9__Domaine de la Tour du Bon, Bandol red 2001. A little less than 60% Mourvedre. 15°. In Saint Anne du Castellet. Old vines and low yields. Concentrated. A lot of character. 14 Euro. They also have a cuvée named "cuvée Saint Ferréol"with 98% Mourvèdre. Black like ink . Long laying down .