Our first acquaintance with Domaine Tempier, the Peyraud family, and Bandol was in the pages of Kermit Lynch’s wine travel book Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France. The Peyraud family were painted as almost legendary pioneers of Provence wine-growing in spearheading the establishment of Bandol as its own A.O.C and the large-scale replanting of Mourvèdre – which would result in wines with greater aging potential – in place of higher-yielding varietals.
So thanks to the impressive selection of wines at Marquis Wine Cellars, the opportunity to taste wines by the legendary Domaine Tempier, which Kermit Lynch – one of America’s foremost wine merchants – refers to as “our cornerstone, stands more in the defense of terroir, and is more intricately interwoven with our own history” in relation to his wine merchant business, was something of an event here at Wineshout.
Domaine Tempier, located near Le Plan du Castellet, just outside the Mediterranean seaport village of Bandol in Provence, has been run by the Peyraud family since 1834 but did not become a domaine until the 1940s. Organically farmed, the domaine is comprised of three vineyards: La Migoua, La Tourtine, and Cabassaou. These vineyards’ soils are variations of clay and limestone, providing an annual production of 11,000 cases.
Domaine Tempier 2010 Rose (50% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 2% Carignan) – From vines that are on average 20 years old, these grapes are harvested by hand, and aged in cuve for 6 to 8 months. It presented cassis, violet, strawberries, black currant leaf, with light touches of sweet lemon and ice tea. This is a very dry, medium-bodied rosé. Robert Parker has said at one time that the Domaine Tempier rose is the greatest rosé in the world, which has surely helped it achieve cult status. The 2010 wasn’t, in our opinion, able to live up to these lofty standards, but is undeniably one of the best roses we have tasted, like Provence in a glass.
After the tasting, we served the rosé with a dish of scallops with roasted tomatoes and crispy prosciutto (a Jamie Oliver recipe from one of his earlier – and in our opinion best – books, The Naked Chef). Here is a great, similar recipe for you to try for scallops.
Domaine Tempier 2007 Rouge Cuvee Classique (75% Mourvèdre, 14% Grenache, 9% Cinsault, 2% Carignan) – From vines that are over 40 years old, the grapes are harvested by hand, and aged in oak foudres for 18 to 20 months. This wine was very tight when opened, and decanted for 4 hours before tasting. We were greeted with black fruits such as dark cherry, blackberry, and blueberry, with hints of smoked fat. This is an intense wine with balanced tannins and high acidity. Another couple hours in and in a follow-up tasting the following day, notes of toffee, licorice and tar had developed.
Others have referred to a certain savage nature to this wine that we did not find in this vintage, but rather a character of luscious elegance seemed to dominate.
After the tasting, we served with Rack of lamb and garlic potatoes. We kept things rather rustic with this dish, and the pairing was spot on.
For review of earlier vintages of Domaine Tempier’s wines, hop on over to this tasting profile at Winedoctor.com