2021 Domaine Les Oeuvres Vives, Bandol Rouge, Provence, France.
A new and brilliant discovery for me recently was Domaine Les Oeuvres Vives in Provence’s famous Bandol and their outstanding Bandol Rouge, made uniquely from about 80% Mourvèdre, plus 10% Carignan, rather than the usual Grenache, and 10% of Cinsault, which adds a bright zesty spicy kick, with the 2021 vintage showing extremely well and amazingly elegant and graceful with lovely floral notes, dark fruit, supple tannins, an array of spice, stony and savory elements and a lifted boost of fresh acidity, making for a well rounded wine, but with subtle grip and lovely length. Coming from a small estate almost across from the famed Domaine Tempier, this Bandol is less about raw power and more about purity and pleasure on the palate with black cherry, plum, mulberry and crushed blackberry fruits, a touch of lilac, lavender, minty herbs, a hint of cedar, anise and mineral tones. There must be a unique synergy between the Carignan and the Mourvèdre, because everything is heightened on the palate and there’s just something utterly seductive about how this wine hits the senses, especially texturally and its complexity without heaviness or aggressive tannins, it just makes you go Oh là là! I am a fan of Provence wines, from Cassis Blanc, Côtes de Provence Rosé to these Bandol wines, white, pink and reds, there’s a lot to enjoy here near the Côte d’Azur, obviously one of the most scenic places earth, and a long and historic presence in the world of wine that continues to the our time.

The Domaine Les Oeuvres Vives, based in Provence’s Le Castellet, was founded by Marc Van Peteghem, a noted architect, Marie Laroze, The maître de chai du at the famous old school Château de Pibarnon and Nicolas Trégoat, who has experience at Les Vignes de La Nartette, with a mission to make uniquely distinct Bandol and from tasting this beautiful and textured 2021, I’d say they’ve certainly achieved that and their path looks to be on firm ground for the future. While most young Bandol reds are rustic, hearty and oh so gripping, usually requiring years if not decades to fully come into their prime, this Domaine Les Oeuvres Vives is an outlier with loads of charm and generosity even it its youth, but don’t think of this wine as lighter or lesser, it is certainly not, and its got the underlying stuffing to age, which I think means it will get even better with time in the bottle. The color is a deep purple/garnet and its perfumed bouquet are compelling starters, to the mentioned above of joy in the mouth, I wish I could tell you more about this wine and the winery, but most all I’ve been able to out is noted here, though I gather the mission here is to make as natural expression of terroir as possible with organic farming, low impact from vines to cellar, with mostly neutral aging vessels, and allowing for a fresher style in the bottle. Coming from old vines set on the region’s clay and limestone soils only a stones throw from the Mediterranean Sea this wine captures the allure of the place with total harmony, this is a winery to watch! Being new and getting attention at home, means not much, of their wine, is here yet, but Petite Wines in California brought some over, so chase some down!
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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