2007 Chateau Pradeaux, Bandol, X, 10 ans d’élevage, Provence, France.
Done as a special project for an anniversary of Chateau Pradeaux being imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, this Bandol X is an amazing red from one of the regions great producers, it’s unique in it was raised in oak cask for a full 10 years, but it’s what shows up in the glass which is really special here, as this Mourvedre based Bandol Rouge is still fresh and vibrant, a wondrous wine of class and length. The Château Pradeaux, founded in 1752, is situated on the outskirts of the town of Saint Cyr-sur-Mer that lies directly on the Mediterranean Ocean between Toulon and Marseilles, there is almost no other place on earth vines would rather be, the view of the sea must be heavenly. The estate has been in the hands of the Portalis family since before the French Revolution, with Cyrille Portalis is the current head of the family’s winery and with his wife Magali and his sons that are now entrenched in the business and the cellar with both Edouard and Etienne, who was pouring the wines for me at Rosenthal’s trade tasting recently. While their lovely Chateaux Pradeaux Bandol Rosé is 50% Cinsault and 50% Mourvedre, the Rouge bottlings are between 95% and 100% old vine Mourvedre as this special X is, the winemaking is traditional with organic grapes, ferments with native yeasts in concrete tanks using whole cluster, and while the regular bottling gets 48 months in large cask, the X went a full ten years in the big French oak barrels. Grown on the regions southern exposures and slopes of clay and limestone soils, the Pradeaux X Badol Rouge is a magical terroir driven wine that shows a remarkably youthful bright garnet/ruby hue in the glass with a heightened perfume and subtle earthy tone with a hint of animal and dark fruit coming through on the bouquet. The palate is seamless with layer after layer unfolding, this is just stunning stuff right up there with First Growth Bordeaux in substance and style, it’s big tannins showing a refined velvety class, there’s a lot to admire here, the mouth feel is excellent and rewarding with blackberry, black cherry, dusty plums and strawberry fruits, a touch of leather, well resolved stemmy elements, salted black licorice, dried violets, lavender, graphite, minty basil, cedar and lingering kirsch. This outrageously good and transparent Bandol Rouge is a thrilling wine, that has retained vitality with lifting acidity, that remains true to it’s sense of place and history, it’s everything you’d expect and want, and while this is a rarity, don’t miss their regular Bandol Rouge and especially the Pradeaux Bandol Rosé.
($96 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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