I have a soft spot for Bandol, France’s coastal wine region. I had a bottle of Bandol red the other night at the excellent New York restaurant Mas, and I really was sad to see it end. It brought me back to last summer on the Cote d’Azur with some friends enjoying the sunshine, sea air, and beautiful sights – day and night. Forget this snow in Manhattan. Give me sunshine on the beach in St. Tropez.
Anyway, I drank the 2004 Domaine Tempier Bandol Cuvée Spéciale La Migoua with wine importer Leonardo Locascio of Winebow and we were both super-pleased. It was complex and rich, yet balanced and silky. It had loads of black fruits, minerals and light spicy character with hints of sea breeze-soaked rosemary. (Am I getting carried away? I don’t think I have ever used that descriptor ...)
But the wine is very, very close to a classic quality wine by the magazine’s standards. And it seems very, very close in quality to the marvelous 2001, which my colleague Kim Marcus rated 94 points a few years back.
Moreover, the pure and elegant style of the wine went perfectly with the precise and unadulterated food on the plate. Mas makes a big deal about its organic and wholesome ingredients, almost to the point of evangelism when they tell you about it at the table, but the preaching comes through on the palate. Not only does it taste good, but also it feels good for you. And it’s wonderfully cooked, from a spaghetti squash-crusted halibut roasted in the oven and served over a ragoût of corn, mushrooms and escargots, to a roasted duck breast and duck tart on a bed of long-grained rice.
Don’t forget that top Bandol reds age beautifully as well. I remember drinking some Château Pradeauxs from the 1970s a decade ago that were fabulous and reminded me a lot of a top Châteauneuf – but even classier than many. I have to go back and buy more of these wines. I think I have a bottle of 1975 in my cellar somewhere – it’s a mess!
Tempier also makes what I believe are some of the best rosés on the planet. I almost want a glass now as I write this in the morning, thinking of some beautiful times I spent with the Fox drinking a glass with some grilled sea bass and a simple salad in the warm summer weather. Yummy on all accounts.
May be it’s even better drinking such wines in the cold snowy weather in New York and thinking about warmer moments last summer ...
Andrew Bernardo — Halifax, Nova Scotia — February 15, 2007 12:27pm ET
Arnaud Tronche — Chicago — February 15, 2007 12:27pm ET
James Suckling — — February 15, 2007 1:54pm ET
Chris — Edmonton, — February 15, 2007 3:09pm ET
Jim Nuffield — Toronto — February 15, 2007 6:53pm ET
James Suckling — — February 17, 2007 4:17pm ET
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