2022 Bastide Blanche, Bandol Rosé
2022 Bastide Blanche, Bandol Rosé

2022 Bastide Blanche, Bandol Rosé

Provence, France 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$29.00

2022 Bastide Blanche, Bandol Rosé

Rosé is here to stay. No longer a niche category, these refreshing wines made from mostly red grapes pressed quickly away from their skins have been a market force for well over a decade. Supermarkets now have dozens of options, and no serious wine list would overlook the category. But so much of it is innocuous pink juice. Where’s the really good stuff?

Wine lovers, even those who rarely dabble in rosé, have for years known that the best, most complex and interesting versions hail from Bandol. As such, the region has gained global attention, which of course means prices have soared. But not at Domaine Bastide Blanche! For $30 you can get all the wild berries, compelling aromatics, and refreshing complexity of great Bandol. It's a killer value, so if you drink just one rosé all summer long, make sure it is Bastide Blanche.

About 10 miles southeast of Marseille you find the picturesque village of Bandol. Of course, this is the French Riviera, so “picturesque villages” are basically the norm. It is the vineyards in the hills to the north and east of Bandol that set this commune apart from the rest of the region. The vines are protected by mountains to the north and the east, and by the sparkling blue Mediterranean to the south and west. What’s even more important is that the geology here has that oenophile’s dream combination of clay mixed with copious amounts of limestone. While cool sea breezes protect the vines from the hot, Provençal sun, the mountains shield them from harsh winds and frosts. Happy grapes, then, are free to ripen slowly and enjoy the beauty along with the throngs of tourists.

That special combination of climate and geology is what drew Michel and Louis Bronzo here in the early 1970s, looking to make classic wines that showcase this unique terroir. This was a time when only a small handful of movie stars and jetsetters in Saint-Tropez had even heard of Bandol and its wine, but almost five decades later the Bronzo’s foresight has definitely paid off. They located their fledgling domaine in the commune of Saint Anne de Castellet, which is known for a high percentage of limestone and a healthy dose of sun, too. The focus has always been on Bandol’s most important variety, Mourvédre, and it is this grape that gives the rosés here their elegance and distinction.

Before you even pull a cork on Bastide Blanche you can tell this is no pedestrian Provençal rosé. The color is much deeper and more vibrant, something like wild sockeye salmon, and then you immediately recognize a richer, fuller texture. Though not necessary, it is fun to decant this wine, but you can also pop and pour, though I would use a larger glass like a Bordeaux stem to allow the full spectrum of aromas, including wild raspberries, blood orange, ruby red grapefruit, rosewater, white pepper and hints of salty sea air. The palate is richly textured with some of the same fruits up front mingling with savory notes of sage, rosemary, and pink peppercorn. Add a splash of sunny acidity and saline minerals and you have a delightfully complex rosé experience that is also a tremendously versatile pairing wine. Oh, and it can age surprisingly well, so don’t be afraid to lose a few bottles in the cellar when the summer is over. All of this for $30? Yup, so we don’t think it will last long!

2022 Bastide Blanche, Bandol Rosé

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