When Pascal , the manager of the "Maison des vins de Bandol" ( the Bandol wines tasting house ) told us he had scheduled an old rosés ( pink wines ) blind tasting, we were of course excited . Many things are said about pink wines . Some say these wines can't age, some say they can sometimes age well, but it is rare to experience it directly : Virtually, most rosé wines don't last beyond the summer and it is obvious they are not supposed to spend years laying down in a cellar . But is seems that some of them can indeed age, and Bandol rosés may be the most fitted for that , partly because of the important proportion of Mourvèdre in the blend . Mourvèdre gives a long laying down potential to the blending combination of Bandol wines .
The scheduled time, two days later, we were back in Bandol . Pascal had hidden the labels of the old bottles ( there were two of them ) so that we could taste and concentrate before knowing the millesimes . We knew wich estates they were from, because he would first begin the tasting with the recent equivalents of the wines :
__1 The first modern one : La Laidière rosé 2004 . On the fruit. Very aromatic. Still in its youth . 60% Mourvèdre, 30% Cinsault, 10% Grenache. Very expressive nose .
__2 Second modern equivalent : Chateau la Rouvière ( Domaines Bunan ) rosé 2003 . Clear orange tile colour . 79% Mourvèdre, 18% Cinsault, 3% Grenache . 13,5° . Nice nose, but less expressive . Pine resin .Hearty wine (13,5°) but with finesse and length in the mouth . Pascal reminds us that Bandol rosés don't spend time in wood, with exceptions like the cuvée "L'Idomptable" from La Chretienne estate .
The old stuff now :
__3 La Laidière old rosé . Year still unknown to us , for a few minutes . The cork
from this bottle can't give us any clues, as it has been recently changed . Nice orange, amber-pink robe . B. says rightly that the nose is similar to the one of an old Jura wine . Animal side on the first nose . Superb . After being whirled and aerated in the glass, it is even more striking . Smells and tastes like a veil wine . Pascal says the colour has probably accentuated along the years . This wine may have been much more limpid in its early years . See the density of the wine on the picture on the left ( but don't look at the fine print of the label yet ! ) . Mouth : Lots of finesse , neat attack . Fleshy . And this nose again , so "Vin Jaune"... Pascal reveals the label : it says La Laidière 1988 . 13° . Silver medal at the "concours general agricole en 1989" . Seems incredible : 17 years . We have no info about the blend in this millesime, but it was something probably close to what they make today ( 60% Mourvèdre ) .
__4 The second old rosé . A Domaines Bunan rosé, if we look at the damaged cork . Lighter tile-orange colour .
Nose is more discreet . Thin . Mouth : Looks more fresh , more delicate . Less fleshy . Light structure . B. Says that in a matter of several minutes in our glasses , the wine has evolved toward nut notes and veil wine aromas . Pascal suggests a pairing with old Roquefort cheese, or lightly fried foie gras, with figs . He unveils the bottle : Mas de la Rouvière ( Domaines Bunan ) 1985 . No alcohol % indicated . The Mas de la Rouvière is the second wine of Chateau La Rouvière , made from young vineyards . A 20 year old rosé...
This is inspiring ! Not that I have many rosés laying down in my cellar , but there are a couple of bottles ( not from these estates ) , and I may purposely forget them a few years and see how they turn out in , say, 5 or 10 years...
Is this me, or is it a concealed message from the Bandol gods ? After our tasting, we went swimming in the mediterranean in Bandol and I was puzzled by strange out-of-place orange-tile reflections shimmering under the surface . What I found on the sea bed was beautifully aged ( unknown millesime ) , with softened asperities....
My guess : dates from the mid 70's to the early 80's .