2020 Domaine de La Begude, Bandol Rosé, Provence, France.
The brightly colored and fruit forward Domaine de La Begude Bandol Rosé is a classic styled and dry version made from mostly Mourvedre, with a little bit of Grenache and Cinsault showing ripe fruitiness, but with good structure, zesty acidity and a bit lower natural alcohol than most modern Bandols making it nicely refreshing and food friendly. I’d not had or remember having this certified sustainable Domaine previously and I was impressed with the performance here with its transparent layering of ruby grapefruit, plum water, tart cherry, watermelon and strawberry fruits, a fine mineral detail, a steel coil of energy and a mix of florals, dried herbs and wet stones. The Domaine de La Begude grows its vines on a forested plot near the Mediterranean sea with beautiful south facing terraced vineyards with an average vine age of close to 25 years and planted to mainly Mourvedre, but with Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette, Rolle and Ugni Blanc as well. The wines here are notably done in a more modern clean style and have retrained natural alcohols for ease of use and to go great with the region’s inspiring cuisine. The vines, it should be noted, set on clay and limestone of the Maures Mountains are all certified organic and have been since 2006.

Pretty new on the Provence wine scene, Domaine de La Bégude was founded in 1996 by the Tari family, who are an old wine producing family with a historic pedigree in Bordeaux where they own the famous third growth, Château Giscours, in Margaux. Begude is run by Guillaume and his wife Soledad, who have really made Bandol their passion and home, not only is Guillaume ithe winemaker for the estate, he also serves as the president of the prestigious Bandol AOC. The Domaine le La Begude is based in an ancient Merovingian chapel that dates back to the 7th century and the “Conil” seigneury, where a thriving village once sat, but no longer exists. From here Guillaume hand crafts his Bandol wines, he does mostly his Bandol Rouge bottlings, though he also does a crisp Clairette Blanche, Ugni Blanc and Rolle (Vermentino) white as well as a couple of Rosé efforts, with this being his classic version. The Rosé sees a bit extra skin maceration with string to achieve its glowing vivid hue and was aged a full 18 months in neutral French oak casks to add depth and a round mouth feel, while still having plenty of zippy detail. I love that this Bandol Rosé is just about 12.%, instead of the more common 14 plus you see now, and while not on the level of the stars in the region yet, it offers a fabulous value and has a terroir driven and lovable charm.
($35 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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