A French Red That’s Aging Well

Domaine Tempier Bandol 2004
Kim Marcus
Posted: April 2, 2010

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).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated reds from Bandol, along with our quick list of Top Values among French reds.

Member comments   4 comment(s)

Jason T Pett — USA —  April 2, 2010 10:57am ET

By far, Domaine Tempier is my favorite winery. I enjoy all of the cuvees with Tourtine being my favorite. I have about 6 cases in total in my cellar dating back to 2003. They taste so good now, but I am trying to hold off to see how well they improve with time. I just bought my 2007s and await the 2008s later this summer. When do you expect your reviews on 2007 and what is the expectation for Bandol in general for 2008 and 2009?


Susan Sevig — lakeland, fl usa —  April 3, 2010 8:00am ET

Oh how I agree - had a couple of bottles before of their regular bottlings at dinners and recently popped a '03 Bandol that ranks in the top 5 of all wines I have tasted just behind a mid 90's Caymus - wonderful wine all around!

SO I recently bought their 06 Le Miguoa and the 06 and 07 regular bottlings to age - also a 05 Pibarbon and 04 Terrebrune bandols that had high WS ratings!!! Hope they come close to the '03!! Dale


Jason T Pett — USA —  April 5, 2010 10:48am ET

The 04's are probably their best vintage. I had teh 05 Pibarbon on Saturday and it was delicious. The 04 Terrebrune is fantastic as well - it has a much different taste than the other reds from Bandol...one that I like very much. You should also try the 04 Tour du Bon. Another good one in a neighboring appelation is Leon Barral - very tasty and a fair price. I found it to have characteristics similar to those in Bandol.


Jason T Pett — USA —  October 5, 2010 12:07pm ET

Kim: Do you plan to review the 2007 and 2008 Tempier's?


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