2021 Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rosé, Provence, France.
The Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé, which regardless of season is like Summer in the glass, with it’s inviting salmon color and mouth filling palate, it sits nicely between hedonistic density and lively refreshment. This gorgeous texture and sharp details here in this 2021 version provides everything expected with layers of bright fruit, mineral tones and a fine stony element, it shows pink grapefruit, strawberry, watermelon and tart cherry along with a hint of rosewater, saline and a faint spiciness. It used to be a Summer cannot be a Summer without a bottle of Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé, and while there are dozens of quality and distinctive dry Rosé wines available now, this wine remains a must have offering, with this edition being one of best in recent years. The Tempier Rosé getting an extra bit of time in bottle allows for more complexity and refinement upon release, as this one clearly shows. There’s a lot to admire and treasure in Tempier’s collection, especially their trio of specialized Bandol Rouge cuvées of Cabassaou, La Migoua and La Tourtine, which are all highly coveted by collectors and Mourvèdre lovers, as well as their Bandol Blanc, which is a blend of Clairette (60%), Ugni blanc (30%) with small amounts of Rolle (Vermentino), Bourboulenc, and Marsanne. That said, you should ever miss a chance to enjoy Tempier’s Rosé, it is by no means cheap these days, but worth the spurge and it goes great with Mediterranean inspired cuisine as well as our California fare, with its fresh flavors, as well. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to sample all of the Tempier wines and even have tasted many of them with Kermit Lynch, their importer, who really helped put this domaine on the map and who passionately brought fame to Tempier in America.

The late Lulu Peyraud, who was the matriarch of Domaine Tempier, a legendary figure in the world of food and wine, who’s estate has long crafted red wines can easily age with the elite Bordeaux, they are Mourvèdre led wines that litter the top cellars of the rich and famous. It was her husband, Lucien, who help push through the AOC status for this unique terroir back in the late thirties and early forties, and Tempier championed Mourvèdre here, helping making it the main grape of Bandol. Lulu herself, was a renown chef and sought to bring Provencal cuisine to the world, she has entertained the likes of Alice Waters and Julia Child, inspiring everyone she met and being one of France’s great ambassadors of culture. Tempier is now farmed all biodynamic, the vines have a great view of this spectacularly picturesque sea side region of France’s Provence. The Domaine Tempier Rosé is made from mostly Mourvèdre of course, grown on clay and limestone soils, overlooking the blue Mediterranean, all overseen by the talented Daniel Ravier, the consulting winemaker, who now has Lulu’s sons, Jean-Marie and François taking care of the estate’s management and working in the vineyards. The Rosé is crafted from 55% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache Noir and 20% Cinsault, which is now pretty much the recipe these days, coming from mainly 20 year old organic vines, and made by using 50% saignée and 50% direct press (with early picks), it then goes through primary and malolactic fermentation, which adds that sensation of a full body and opulence, it sees 50% aging in stainless steel vats and 50% in concrete tanks, lasting close to 7 months. I recommend enjoying this Tempier Bandol Rosé with steamed mussels in a spicy broth and or as sunset beach sipper.
($60 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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