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2020 Bandol Rouge “Saint Ferréol”

Domaine de la Tour du Bon
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Tour du Bon can sometimes be overlooked among our more spotlight-stealing Bandol producers such as Tempier. But meeting Agnès Henry at this incredible domaine last spring felt like a revelation. As I swirled and sniffed and jotted my notes in her quaint little tasting room off the sunny courtyard—wafts of garrigue and citrus blossom drifting in through the open door—I found myself battling an internal dilemma: part of me wanted to shout this vinous discovery from the rooftop; the other part wanted to tuck it away like a prized jewel. Consider this page my rooftop. Saint Ferréol is a Mourvèdre masterpiece, produced only in exceptional vintages. Deeply complex with a stony minerality steeped in herbal aromatics, it calls for a luxurious cut of meat or a spot in your wine treasure trove.

Madison H. Brown

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 90% Mourvèdre, 10% 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: 13.8%

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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 Lynch pulling wine out of a cellar.

If you're looking for value, look where no one else is looking.

Inspiring Thirst, page 211

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