As we brave very fresh conditions on restaurant terraces and in our gardens in our best ski gear and favourite bobble hats, frozen but smiling, I thought it might be timely to recommend another rosé as we look forward to warmer days.
Domaine Tempier’s rosé is one of the greatest produced anywhere in the world, of that I am certain. There is no overly elaborate label, fluted bottle nor celebrity owner, just an exceptional wine in the bottle and a wine that has delivered great quality vintage after vintage, decade after decade. The rosé market is perhaps where wine and fashion combine most of all, and a lot of rosé are uninteresting, anodyne wines about which there is very little to say. It is very easy to pay quite a bit of money for an ordinary rosé – a depressing fact that most of us will acknowledge, but it doesn't need to be that way.
You don’t have to simply believe me when it comes to Tempier. Numerous wine critics have sung the estate’s praises for years. Robert Parker once commented ‘Always one of my favourite estates, Domaine Tempier's Bandol Rosé remains one of the world's reference points for how much flavor and character can be built into a rosé wine’. That just about says it all. More recently, American critic Jeb Dunnuck added that Tempier is ‘Always one of the top 2/3 rosé produced anywhere’. I think you get the idea.
Tempier is established as one of the great estates for rosé, not that it should overshadow their impressive set of Mourvèdre-based reds, of which I have been a fan for many years. However, there are very few rosé that benefit from extended ageing, but Tempier’s does, to such an extent that Jancis Robinson once commented that the 1988 (tasted in 2015!) was ‘probably the finest pink’ she had ever drunk. Sorry, just used yet another endorsement, but with Tempier’s extraordinary rosé it is too easy to do…
A short history for you: in 1936, when Lucie ‘Lulu’ Tempier married Lucien Peyraud, her father gifted them a farm just outside Bandol. The vineyards of the estate had begun to be re-planted with grape varieties other than Mourvèdre on account of their reliability of yield, but having tasted venerable bottles of the estate’s great reds, Lucien championed Mourvèdre – he noted that it was well-suited to the area’s clay/limestone terroir. He worked with appellation authorities who decreed in 1941 that Mourvèdre legally needed to constitute 50% of any wine within the newly created appellation of Bandol AOC. After the new appellation was launched, a wholescale replanting of Mourvèdre took place in this now iconic Provençal region.
As commented before, I was introduced to Bandol by my father, who has always harboured an interest in wines from the Rhône and Provence; in my teens I recall visits to a small, local wine shop where he loaded up with, at the time unfashionable, wines from the south of France. The fact that today, some thirty years on, I recall wines such as Domaine Tempier’s red and rosé, surely says something about my view of their quality.
The estate knows that their rosé sells readily and attempts to hold back 10-20% each year, but demand is significant. The estate encompasses just over 50 hectares, and even with just over a quarter of this area devoted to rosé production, it stills disappears all too easily.
Last year I recommended buying a couple of cases; one to drink now and one to drink a few summers further down the line, to see what you think of a more aged style. Mature Tempier Rosé can allow for great food combinations with a broader array of matches than you might think. As with all good advice, I struggled to heed it myself and ended up drinking my stock last year without holding a single bottle back. Note to self: must try harder (though I am not sure my family are up to the challenge!).
2019 Bandol Rosé, Domaine Tempier
£225 per 12 bottle case in bond
Pale in hue, with beautiful aromas of tangy peach combined with red berry fruit hints, there is a stoney, mineral note too. Silky as ever, there is a fine intensity here, nothing overblown or too rich, an exercise in poise. More of those stone fruit characters come through on the palate with a zesty citrus nuance that renders it incredibly more-ish. The juiciness of the 2019 is really compelling, enlivening the finish where ripe fruit notes meld with complex lifted notes, hints of spice and subtle mineral notes. Long, pure and refined, an exemplary vintage of this outstanding rosé. Drink 2021-2027++ (SL)
We have the wine already in stock and available for delivery so please let us know of your interest.
All the best,