Terrebrune’s Bandol epitomizes the idea of a terroir-driven rosé, from the nose of thyme and white peach, redolent of a Provençal summer, to its mouthwateringly salty finish, a reminder that the sea is just a stone’s throw away. Accordingly, this 2020 is characterized by tangy, salty minerals underlying beautiful citrus and herbal notes. Vigneron Reynald Delille is never shy to point out the aging potential of his rosé, often pulling out twenty-year-old bottles in pristine condition to prove his point. In its youth, its brightness makes it a great companion to seafood in their most basic form, including crudo, urchin, or grilled loup de mer (sea bass). With age, it picks up weight and develops deeper aromatics, allowing it to stand up to richer and more dishes. Uncork this 2020 today with anchovy-laden burrata toasts to highlight its invigorating balance of saline and citrus.
Burrata Toasts with Salt-Cured Anchovies Toast slices of rustic levain until edges begin to char. Top each with a generous dollop of burrata, then with salt-cured anchovy filets. Drizzle with olive oil and add cracked black pepper to taste. Add dried oregano or fresh basil, if desired. The combination of creamy and briny make this dish an exquisite match with Terrebrune’s rosé.
In 1963, Georges Delille bought what would become Domaine de Terrebrune, a property in Ollioules, just east of Bandol, framed by the Mediterranean and the mountain called Gros-Cerveau (Big Brain), dotted with olive groves and scenic views—an idyllic spot. Mass overhauling and reconstruction of vineyards followed the declaration of A.O.C. Bandol (1941); vignerons were eager to revive the noble Mourvèdre grape. Georges spent ten years just renovating the property, terracing hillsides and replanting vineyards following the advice of Lucien Peyraud. In 1980, his son Reynald joined him, and together they launched their first bottled vintage of Domaine de Terrebrune, which Reynald named in honor of the rich, brown soils they farm.
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.
A good doctor prescribed the wine of Nuits-Saint-Georges to the Sun King, Louis XIV, when he suffered an unknown maladie. When the king’s health was restored the tasty remedy enjoyed a vogue at court. Lord, send me a doctor like that!
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