The thing about Domaine Tempier’s Bandol rosé is that every time you open a bottle—no matter how many you’ve uncorked in your lifetime—it feels like a special occasion. That peachy-pink hue and iconic label turn any moment into a small celebration. Certainly, Bandol rosé is complex and pedigreed, but make no mistake: it is traditionally an apéritif wine. I like to honor it as such by taking the time to prepare as many salty and spreadable treats as I can scoop up with, or pile on top of, toasty croutons: a briny anchoïade, an earthy tapenade, or a bright and tangy sun-dried tomato purée are all great options. Avoid sticky, creamy cheeses, as they may stand in the wine’s way. The more olive oil, dried herbs, and fresh garlic, the better. Maybe you can find some plump octopus to grill and swipe with aïoli, or dip into a summery pistou. As 2020 continues to challenge us, let’s refuel our tanks with the fruits of one of the better things to happen to America in the last fifty years—Kermit importing Tempier rosé. A reason to celebrate!
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.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch
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