Each vintage, fans of Domaine Tempier will engage in fervent arguments in favor of their preferred single-vineyard cuvée. The choice is never easy, with Migoua, Tourtine, and Cabassaou each offering distinct qualities bound to appeal to different palates. While each cuvée—and any Bandol red, for that matter—offers earthy black fruit, wild herbaceous qualities, and chewy, almost rustic tannins, La Tourtine perhaps best expresses the paradoxical combination of power and elegance that is a trademark of the Domaine's wines. One of the best terroirs in the appellation, La Tourtine is a terraced hillside whose southern exposure at the top of a hill gives it ample exposure to the elements—namely, the fierce Provençal sun and incessant howl of the mistral. Deep clay soils yield rich, dense wines while a high proportion of Mourvèdre, including some very old vines, ensure that concentration is never lacking. In the 2017, you'll find sumptuous black fruit backed by a thick, fleshy tannic structure, plus hints of pine forest, sun-baked clay, and resinous garrigue. Drinkable now with the aeration but endowed with solid aging potential, the 2017 Tourtine is certain to animate debates among impassioned Tempier drinkers for years to come.
Of all of the domaines we represent, no other serves more as our cornerstone, stands more in the defense of terroir, and is more intricately interwoven with our own history, than that of the iconic Peyraud family of Domaine Tempier. When Lulu Tempier married Lucien Peyraud in 1936, her father gave them Domaine Tempier, a farm that had been in the family since 1834. Tasting a pre-phylloxera bottle of Tempier Bandol inspired Lucien to research the terroir extensively. By 1941, thanks to Lucien and neighboring vignerons, Bandol had its own A.O.C. Lucien will forever be celebrated as the Godfather of Bandol. Raising deep and structured wines of such refinement and longevity has made Domaine Tempier truly a grand cru de Provence.
Perhaps there is no region more closely aligned with the history to Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant than Provence. Provence is where Richard Olney, an American ex-pat and friend of Alice Waters, lived, and introduced Kermit to the great producers of Provence, most importantly Domaine Tempier of Bandol. Kermit also spends upwards of half his year at his home in a small town just outside of Bandol.
Vitis vinifera first arrived in France via Provence, landing in the modern day port city of Marseille in the 6th century BC. The influence of terroir on Provençal wines goes well beyond soil types. The herbs from the pervasive scrubland, often referred to as garrigue, as well as the mistral—a cold, drying wind from the northwest that helps keep the vines free of disease—play a significant role in the final quality of the grapes. Two more elements—the seemingly ever-present sun and cooling saline breezes from the Mediterranean—lend their hand in creating a long growing season that result in grapes that are ripe but with good acidity.
Rosé is arguably the most well known type of wine from Provence, but the red wines, particularly from Bandol, possess a great depth of character and ability to age. The white wines of Cassis and Bandol offer complexity and ideal pairings for the sea-influenced cuisine. Mourvèdre reigns king for red grapes, and similar to the Languedoc and Rhône, Grenache, Cinsault, Marsanne, Clairette, Rolle, Ugni Blanc among many other grape varieties are planted.
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