I love this photo. It’s such a juxtaposition of extremes: a bottle of rosé from an area in Southern France with 3,000+ hours of sunshine a year, nestled into several inches of Pacific Northwest snow.
Provence is world-renowned for its stunning beaches, fragrant fields of lavender, and some of the best rosé on the planet. Not only is Provence France’s oldest winemaking region – it’s also the only region in the world to focus primarily on the production of rosé. And they do a pretty kickass job of it.
Rosés from Provence are often light, crisp, delicately fruity wines that are perfect for sipping away an idle afternoon. Bandol is a rosé dominant appellation located within the southern part of Provence, right up against the Mediterranean Sea. And Bandol rosés are nothing like your typical, pink porch-pounders.
For starters, Mourvèdre is the dominant grape in these wines – lending more savory, and sometimes meaty flavors. Quite different from the usual floral and bright red fruit notes found in rosés where Grenache or Cinsault are the leading players. Mourvèdre is a grape that loves the heat (it originated somewhere near the toasty Mediterranean coast of Spain) and the steamy vineyards of Bandol are a perfect environment for it to thrive.
Also, unlike the majority of Provence rosés that can be sipped with nothing more than your sandals, Bandol rosés have a degree of heft and complexity (and higher alcohol content) that make them almost need food in order to shine. I’ve actually found that they can be overwhelming on their own, and enjoy them so much more when paired with the right food – which can range from a burger fresh off the BBQ to roasted chicken to ratatouille (a classic dish of the region focusing on vegetables – which probably explains why I’ve never made this myself). 😉
Like other rosés, it drinks best when well chilled. So stick it in your fridge or a snowbank for a bit before enjoying. 🙂
And here’s the outline on Bandol!