ImageIf there were ever a wine that could bridge the gap between white and red wine lovers, it is rosé, and nowhere in the world does it glisten and announce its prowess more than in Provence.  The cities of note in this southern seaside region of France include the prestigious port city of St Tropez as well as the second largest city in France: Marseille.  Bandol hides among them both, and stretches 30 miles along the shores of the Mediterranean.  It’s the best appellation in Provence, and produces some of the world’s finest rosé.  The habitants of Bandol take pride in their cuisine that has influenced worldly dishes and cooking methods abroad.

The wine of Domaine Tempier has been in production since the 19th century.  Its owners, the Peyraud family, are just as celebrated for their accomplishments in Provençal cuisine as they are for their wine, and have thrived on traditionalist practices, and farming techniques that have stood the test of time.  Approximately half of their rosé blend is hand-harvested Mourvèdre, as are all of the wines by regulation in Bandol, with an additional 20-25% Grenache, 20-25% Cinsault, and sometimes a dash of Carignan.  The distinct color of rosé comes from a traditional French “bleeding” process of red grape skins called Seignée, which is normally used to add more tannin to the production of red wine.  The pink juice that remains in the must, is removed and then fermented separately.  It delivers a very rustic character, almost copper or salmon pink in color, with funky aromas of haystacks, herbes de provence, and dried floral notes.  The palate is clean and snappy, with acidity, refreshing minerality, dried rose petals, and peaches.  Drink this wine in its youth, and pair it with a multitude of classic dishes from Provence, like a bouillabaise, and various types of seafood.  We like to pair pink with pink and recommend a grilled salmon food pairing.  Salmon is a fatty fish high in oils, and will sometimes overpower the red fruit and oak expressions of a traditional Pinot Noir pairing.  This particular Bandol is on the drier side, and adds a certain zing to the palate with each bite without taking anything away from the fish.  It is our first review of a rosé, and it’s one of our top wines to enjoy this summer, red and white wine lovers alike. –JT

DOMAINE TEMPIER Bandol Rosé 2012

SCORE: 91

Market Price: $38 (click to purchase at domaineLA)

Drink now

Decanting time: none

Recommended glassware: Riedel Vinum Pinot Noir glass

Food pairings:

1. Bouillabaisse in the style of Provence (by Domaine Tempier’s very own Lulu Peyraud)

2. Cedar Plank Salmon (by Bobby Flay)

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