2020 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, Bandol Rosé, Provence, France.
It is my Summer ritual to begin Summer with a Bandol Rosé and that has now become official with this beautiful Domaine du Gros ‘Noré Bandol Rosé that is full flavored, dry and mineral driven with an impressive palate of ruby grapefruit, strawberry water, sour cherry, watermelon and peach notes along with wet stones, hints of herbs, rosewater and a fine textural roundness. My usual Bandol Rosé rite of Summer starts with the likes of Domaine Tempier, Chateau Pradeaux and or Domaine Bunan, though in recent years I have been leaning towards Alain Pascal’s Domaine du Gros ‘Noré and this 2020 certainly justifies my choice with an exceptional flourish and quality that exceeds my expectations, this wine is a tremendous value, especially in the elite group of wineries it is up against. While the attractive, almost glowing pink hue will captivate your eyes, the rest of your senses will be equally seduces from nose to the crisp, but lingering finish, this Bandol Rosé is a fabulous wine all on its own, though structured and powerful enough to go with all your Summer dishes, it is an impeccable companion to fresh cuisine. I enjoyed this Domaine du Gros ‘Noré with a California hybrid Caprese salad that included heirloom and cherry tomatoes, thin sliced jalapeño peppers, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar with garden raised basil. It also did fantastic with a selection of speck and watermelon, which I added to my late afternoon snack, this dry pink refreshed and added to pleasure of the warm sunny afternoon and the gentle Ocean breeze.

The Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, imported by the famed Kermit Lynch, who also brings in Domaine Tempier, is located in La Cadière d’Azur, and as Kermit Lynch notes, with the vineyards set on both clay and limestone which imparts structure and a deep sense of fruit. This Bandol micro-climate near the blue Mediterranean Sea brings is a warm zone with full sun, though, as Kermit adds, it is tempered by the persistent Mistral winds. This area is a place were Mourvedre thrives and it plays the most important role here, and especially in the set of Bandol Rouge bottlings and in this Rosé as well. The reds get about 80% Mourvedre in the blend, which gives these Domaine du Gros ‘Noré offerings their age worthy stuffing and allows the Rosé to also carry on drinking well for 3 to 5 years at least. The 2020 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré Bandol Rosé, which comes from all organic 30 year old vines in the more clay rich selections of the estate, was a finished blend of 54% Mourvèdre, 25% Cinsault, 19% Grenache and about 2% of the white grape Clairette Blanche, all of which adds to the complexity and completeness of this wonderful wine. To achieve the balance here the wine was made using about 65% direct press and about 35% maceration, or saignee method, which adds the hedonistic richness and ripe profile, and it was fermented as well as aged in 100% stainless steel vats, that keeps things vibrant, clean and pure. I highly recommend buying the full range of wines under this label, and don’t miss the Bandol Blanc, trust me, it is a rare gem in this awesome collection, it is made from 70% Ugni Blanc and 30% Clairette and sees a 24 hour skin maceration and stainless regime, it is almost as compelling as this stellar Rosé, almost.
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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