About two and a half years ago, I split the purchase of a case of one of Provence’s iconic reds, Domaine Tempier, with my colleague, senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Domaine Tempier is one of the leading estates in the small Bandol appellation, which makes some of southern France’s greatest and most flavorful reds. The star grape here is Mourvèdre, which needs the heat of the Provençal summer to fully ripen and deliver its characteristically rich, full-bodied flavors.
I’ve always liked Domaine Tempier, and visited there a while back. Tempier’s wines have reached new heights of quality in recent vintages. There are a range of single-vineyard reds and blends (as well as a delicious rosé and white), but for our purchase, Sanderson and I chose the “classique” or regular domaine bottling. I had just recently reviewed it in a blind tasting, and both Sanderson and I were impressed by the quality (I rated it then at 91 points) and the price: just $32 a bottle.
My half-case ended up in the basement crawlspace of my mother’s house in San Francisco; the moderate year-round maritime clime there is almost the ideal environment for cellaring wine without temperature or humidity controls. Sanderson has long gone through his allotment, but I was only on my second bottle. It showed beautifully, with at least five more years of aging potential. It features a beefy aroma and succulent dark and red fruit flavors, with notes of cocoa powder, mineral and hoisin sauce—and a very fresh finish. Today, I still rate it in the outstanding range at 90 points, non-blind. I look forward to sampling more of the ’04 in the years ahead.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Domaine Tempier Bandol 2004 (91, $32).