Bandol AOC

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!



Of all the things I thought I’d find during my first visit to New Orleans a couple weeks ago, one of the most awesome and unique wine bars certainly wasn’t one of them. Bacchanal in the Ninth Ward  was truly a memorable experience. Combination retail store, restaurant, outdoor courtyard/jazz bar – with one of the most exciting, wine nerdy selections of wines I’ve ever seen.

Me in Bacchanal
Kid in a candy store!

Bacchanal’s retail store was full of bottles from all over the globe – but the focus was definitely Old World. I didn’t notice anything overly expensive, most of these gems were under $30.   And their glass pours – Pinotage! Who glass pours Pinotage??! And Jacquére! Even this corkdork couldn’t remember WTF that grape was all about (FTR – it’s found mostly in Savoie and produces fairly neutral, dry white wines).

Hubs wanted a Rosé (and who am I to argue with a man who loves to drink pink?!), so I grabbed this bottle from Bacchanal’s well stocked cooler:Loimer Rose

I recognized Loimer as a producer I’d tried before.  The wine was 90% Zweigelt, 10% Pinot Noir. “I love Zweigelt!” I exclaimed to the guy ringing up our purchase, who immediately gave me a disbelieving look. “I’ve never had anyone tell me that before” he said.  Probably true, although I’m sipping on some Zweigelt right now as I write this and am totally digging it.

The Rosé was a perfect start to the evening. Light and fruity, but with some savory notes. Paired deliciously with the giganto cheese board we put together. We also went through a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau and a sparkling Txakolina that eve. And sampled our neighbor table’s Argentinian Pinot Noir.

So many unique regions and varietals under one roof, and a very unpretentious and adventurous environment.  Why don’t we have something like this where I live??!

The reason I decided to focus on Niederösterreich is because of that delicious bottle of Rosé.  At the time, I could not for the life of me remember much about this region from my WSET studies, but the bottle was memorable. As was the entire eve. 🙂  If you’re ever in New Orleans, check out Bacchanal Wine.

Here’s the outline on Niederösterreich: (and I’ll probably drill down into the specific DACs and other regions at some point in the future).