The 2019 Bandol Rosé from Domaine du Gros ’Noré just landed in Berkeley, and it’s one of the most expressive and mouth-watering we’ve tasted to date. Not surprising, considering winemaker Alain Pascal’s sole pursuit is to outdo himself one vintage to the next. Crisp and characterful, and loaded with Provençal complexity, his 2019 is a blend of squarely structured Mourvèdre, balanced with equal parts Cinsault, a more delicate variety, and fruit-forward Grenache. Alain was recently profiled during harvest for the major French news station TF1, and after seeing footage of his rigorous sorting practices, it’s easy to see why his rosé tastes so damn good. Jane Berg, Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant LA
The Finer Details
Variety - Mourvedre, Cinsault, Grenache
Country - France
Region - Provence
Sub Region - Bandol
Alc. Content - 13.5
Std Drinks (Approx.) - 7.7
Extra - Cork
Year - 2019
Volume - 750ml
Owner Alain Pascal has 17 ha of vines in the prime sector of Cadiere d’Azur. The first official vintage released was 1997. Prior to this, Alain’s father, Honore (his name is shortened to ‘Nore to give the name of the Domaine as Gros Noré = Fat Honore) worked the vineyards but never made his own wine. Instead he sold the grapes to another leading Bandol producer at that time, Chateau de Pibarnon.
These beautifully sited vineyards have an average age of 30 years with some located in the highest coolest part of Bandol. Bandol is regarded as the First Growth of Provence producing the most serious, and well known, wines of Provence. The Mourvèdre grape variety is the basis of great Bandol with appellation laws requiring a minimum of 50% for the red wines (though many use up to 100% for some cuvees).
As well as Mourvèdre (80%), the Gros' Noré red also has a dash of Grenache (15%), and old vine Cinsault (5%). The wine is aged for 18 months in old 60 hl wooden barrels (foudres). There are no new barriques used. The domaine has been working organically for many years with no weed-killers or pesticides and will have Ecocert certification in 2020. Alain places a heavy emphasis on ploughing and working the soil in the springtime.
All grapes are hand harvested and sorted and bought quickly to the winery where the grapes are moved onto a vibrating table to remove unwanted material before being de-stemmed. The must of the rose and white are first cooled with the rose spending 24 hours on skins before fermentation. 50% Mouvèdre, 25% Grenache and 25% Cinsault all hand harvested and macerated on skins for 24 hours at 10c.