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2020 Bandol Rouge

Domaine de la Tour du Bon
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Bandol rouge: that iconic dark, brawny nectar with unmistakable tannic grip. Agnès Henry’s version is trademark Bandol but also a horse of a different color. Her blend includes a little less Mourvèdre and a little more Grenache than may be typical, translating into a softer structure and an almost ethereal weightlessness. The 2020 Tour du Bon rouge, with its juicy nose and bright, crunchy fruit, its mouthwatering acidity and peppery verve, is particularly elegant. We opened it on a perfectly ordinary Sunday evening with a bowl of butternut squash soup and fresh crusty bread. It made our quiet dinner feel like a fête.

Emily Spillmann

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 55% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 5% Carignan
Appellation: Bandol
Country: France
Region: Provence
Producer: Domaine de la Tour du Bon
Winemaker: Hocquard-Henry Family
Vineyard: 38 year average, 11 ha total
Soil: Clay, Limestone, Silt, Sandstone
Aging: Wines age in foudres for 18 months before bottling
Farming: Organic (practicing)
Alcohol: 14.5%

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About The Region

Provence

map of 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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Kermit inspecting wine barrels

For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.

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