2014TourDuBonEnSol2014 Domaine de la Tour du Bon, Mourvedre, En-Sol, IGP Méditeranée, France.
What an astonishing wine, a gloriously pure Mourvedre from Domaine de la Tour du Bon’s Agnès Henry, this is certainly the wine to lift it out of the shadows cast by the more famous Domaine(s) Tempier and Terrebrune also imported by Kermit Lynch, it’s an old vine Bandol, 100% Mourvedre that was raised in amphora. Agnès was inspired by the wines of Guisto Occhipinti at COS and especially Elisabetta Foradori, who’s amphora wines are legendary and nuanced in such a way that you never get the funky/odd flavors that one sometimes find in natural or ancient method wines, but wines that are clear and vibrant with delicate detail and transparency. Henry’s estate in the hills to the northwest is perched up above the beautiful Mediterranean in it’s own micro climate with glorious sun filled days, but with cooling influencing breezes and nights that allow for good acidity and balance in the grapes, she farms all organic and ferments with indigenous yeasts with this En-Sol fermenting in clay/terracotta before being racked off into stainless tank for a few months before bottling, no fining or filtering was done, though I will be interested in how much skin contact and whether the grapes were all de-stemmed, as I would suspect as the wine is wonderfully round and charming even this young. This brilliant effort gives Bandol a new look and it’s gorgeous to the core, hopefully Henry will keep pursuing this niche and path, there is amazing potential in her style and her terroir is excellent with red soils, clay, limestone and sandstone allowing a vivid array of flavors. The 2014 En-Sol by Domaine de la Tour du Bon starts very similar to the COS Pithos with loamy notes along with red berries and mixed floral tones, bright and pretty, but then it starts to reveal it’s terroir and varietal purity with it’s forceful and tannic backbone, though there is a remarkable grace and velvety/silken coating to the tannins allowing the inner fruit core to shine in all it’s glory with black cherry, wild raspberry and loganberry layers along with lavender, mineral spice and chalky stones as well as lightly bitter anise, dusty plum, pepper, sweet pipe tobacco and rosewater. This Medium/full bodied and dark garnet/ruby red wine opens wide with air, it is ever changing and complex, while showing a subtle elegance and tangy/linging length, time and food is what is needed here for maximum joy, though it is good and magical on it’s own, I can’t even guess on aging potential, but safely can say best from 2018 to 2024, this wine is super or as I would say hyper-limited, but well worth searching out, but even if you cannot find it or afford it, be sure to check out all the Domaine de la Tour du Bon Bandol offerings, in particular Ms Henry’s stunning Bandol Rose and single vineyard Saint Ferreol Bandol Rouge!
($75 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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