Bandol (map) is a great terroir for pink wines, but when I come to taste some of the reds of the appellation, I know I am a red wine type again...
We drove the D559 road from Bandol to Le Beausset, turned left en route, and climbed to the Moulin des Costes, the pivotal estate of the Domaines Bunan ( wich owns also Chateau la Rouvière ) where the vinification and maturation of the wines take place .
The Moulin des Costes estate was founded in 1960 and today has a vineyard surface of 40 hectares .
Wind, surf and heat . And cicadas, with don't seem to be bothered by the coastal wind . We park in the shadow . Big Eucalyptus trees filter the relentless sun . The tasting and reception room is on the front, with the cellar/store on the side, and the other facilities in the back : Bottling line, vathouse , chai . laurence Minard shows us the place . First, the old big capacity "foudres" .
The place is monumental, and the lighting shows off to advantage the temple-like beauty of the room and its 12 000 liter wooden foudres . This is where the Bandol reds of the Domaine mature for 18 months or more, at 15° C .
Then, a few steps, and we enter the vathouse, with different types of vats, a few casks , and the chai master office in the middle of it . The vathouse is quite compact, but a judicious repartition of the vats and the optimisation of the available space helps overcome the problem . Plus, the operations beginning with the successive harvests are stretched over a month, and there is time to handle all the cuvées, as the plots are not harvested at the same time .
On one side, alignments of big self-emptying steel vats . They have
big size openings as well as inclined bottoms for easy emptying . When you look inside , you imagine the juice and must rushing out [ picture on left ]. Nice design . First time I think , I see such vats . These 11 vats, with a capacity of 160 hectoliter each, are made by CSC, for "Les Constructions Soudées du Coteau", a company located near Roanne and Lyons . On the other side of the vathouse, 12 stainless vats, also made by CSC ( but not self-emptying ones ), and a few Marchisio vats . The chai master office, embedded among the clustered vats , looks like some sort of lighthouse . And close to the ceiling , the tronconic-shaped wooden vats sit imposingly over some of the steel vats .
Mourvèdre has a big share in the blend here of course, as this is elsewhere in the Bandol Appellation . For the Moulin des costed Bandol red : 75% . For the Chateau La Rivière Bandol red : 95% . And 99% for the Cuvée Charriage . Vinification : Long, normal maceration with de-stemmed grapes, during 2 weeks to 35 days in the tronconic wooden vats, where there is a better temperature exchange and an easier work on the cap . Pumping-over and racking . Light press of the must, as the must is used for distillation : The Domaines Bunan have a distillation right and produce their own Marc . The red wine then spends 18 to 24 months in oak : Moulin
des Costes red goes in Foudres ; Chateau La Rouvière in tronconic casks and smaller casks ; and cuvée Charriage in "bottes" . Bottes are 500 liter barriques .
Rosés are made by pressing ripe grapes ( Bucher Vasselin press ). Then in stainless steel vats with temp control ( no wood at all ) . Typical blend for Moulin des costes rosé is 15% Mourvèdre, the rest in Cinsault-Grenache ; Chateau la Rouvière rosé blend is 40% Mourvèdre, the rest being Cinsault-Grenache .
White wine here is virtually 100% Clairette Pointue, vinified in stainless steel vats with skin maceration for very floral aromas ( no wood here neither ) .
Before tasting , we look at their other products in the reception room : A Cotes de Provence 2003 kosher wine at 8,3 Euro, with a nice label designed by Tobiasse . also a bottle of 6° rosé wine named " Le Délire ", at 10 Euro . Their "Vieux marc Egrappé",at 17 euro and 25 Euro for a 700 ml bottle or carafe . Also olive oil and other Provence products .
Tasting now :
__1 White . Moulin des Costes, Domaines Bunan, Bandol 2003 . Surprising nose. Camphor . Dry in the mouth . Blend is here : 60% Clairette Pointue , 38% Ugni Blanc , 3% Sauvignon . 12,5 Euro .
__2 White . Chateau La rouvière , blanc de Blancs, Bandol 2004 . Very limpid , quite like water, except some very light yellow colour . Very nice nose . I like the mouth too . 100% Clairette Pointue . 15 Euro .
__3 Pink . Moulin des Costes , Domaines bunan, Bandol 2004 . Clay-limestone soil . 13,5° .
Would have been a good choice for a wine to drink with a tapenade ( a topic of conversation we have these days ) . 50% Mourvèdre , 25% Grenache , 25% Cinsault . 12,5 Euro .
__4 Pink . Chateau La Rouvière, Bandol 2004 . 50% Mourvèdre , 50% Cinsault . Clay-limestone soil here too, but more on the limestone side . 14° . B. says she likes the nose of this one . 15 Euro .
__5 Red . Moulin des costes, Domaines Bunan, Bandol 2001 .70% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, 5% Syrah [ you don't taste , but see at least the picture of the glass...]. Very dark ink-like robe . Beautiful nose , I marvel . Mouth is great too, hearty . Tannins are quite well integrated . Good wine . 14 Euro .
__6 Red . Chateau La Rouvière, Bandol 2001 . 95% Mourvèdre . 50 years old vines . Superb nose too . As always in this case, I not only smell, I breathe... Very nice quality of tannins . Silky . Beautifully coated mouth . 19 Euro .