Pour yourself a glass of vigneronne Agnès Henry’s rosé to experience the delicate side of Bandol—a delightful contrast to the more structured, powerful rosés from the likes of Tempier or Gros ’Noré. Gentle and full of charm, it offers notes of clementine, white peach, and lavender. Perfect with a grapefruit and chicory salad, it works equally well with my favorite summer dish, sliced heirloom tomatoes topped with buffalo mozzarella and abundant sweet basil. If you manage not to drink it all in one sitting, it gets better on day two.
Dominique Hauvette is a rare breed: intensely stern, unyielding in her convictions, and at times cynical, she is not the jolly Provençal character we are accustomed to from Occitan folklore. Her wines, in turn, are made via singular methods, without artifice, and cannot be compared to anything else in the region—or, for that matter, anywhere in France. To better understand this talented renegade, who has farmed the limestone-heavy soils near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, in the shadow of the Alpilles mountain range, since the early 1980s, sample a bottle of this mind-bending white. A blend of Marsanne, Clairette, and Roussanne raised in concrete eggs, Dolia will take your nose and palate for a ride. Smoke, wildflower honey, gunflint, and quince feature in this fleshy, sturdy masterpiece. The finish, reminiscent of pure stone, is as decisively firm as Dominique herself, but fear not—both are quite lovable once you get to know them.
Tasting in Terrebrune’s cellar last fall, it became apparent that 2015 stands among the great vintages the domaine has produced as of yet, in the same family as 2001, 2005, and 2009. And while logic suggests we should hold off on drinking the 2015s—after all, Terrebrune’s Bandols tend to take their time to fully open up, and this edition’s raw power promises a long life ahead—it’s just so darn good right now! With its deep, opulent Mourvèdre fruit and hint of game on the nose, ample flesh and earthy nuances framed by bright acidity, and solid backbone of chewy tannins, this grandiose effort is hard to resist. Put some bottles in your cellar for later, a few more for way later, but definitely don’t miss out as it confidently struts its way through youth.
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