Sunday, 29 August 2010

A lovely weekend wine from Provence

I thought it was time to try another bottle of this wine, which I added to the list in late 2009. As I said on my website, at the time, if you are looking for a modern, oaky fruit bomb, then you are not going to find it in Chateau Pradeaux. For this is traditional Bandol - a wine for the purist. The grapes (95% Mourvedre and 5% Grenache) are not de-stemmed and the wine is aged for at least 4 years in large oak foudres before bottling. The colour is a deepish blood red, semi-transluscent, with a quite narrow ruby rim. And the nose is uttely complex and beguiling. The initial impression is of mixed spices, sandalwood, leather and forest floor, whilst a few deep breaths reveal further notes of garrigue herbs, freshly-baked bread and forest fruits steeped in eau de vie. The palate is already surprisingly elegant, structured and fleet of foot - medium-bodied, with black berry and cherry fruit flavours, married to soft spices and herbs and all sorts of secondary/tertiary flavours. There's a touch of savouriness, but it isn't too "meaty". And whilst young Bandol (especially Pradeaux) can be quite tannic - sometimes fiercely so - 18 months or so in bottle (Pradeaux famously age their reds for up to 4 years in old oak foudres) has certainly polished any rough edges on the tannins in this one. The result is a wine that, whilst certainly some years from its apogee, is a model of balance between fruit, tannins and acidity. In fact, a common theme has just occurred to me - or rather, a common letter. For if you are a lover of tradional Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Barolo, then this Bandol should certainly appeal to you - it really is a lovely wine. The retail price is £19.95 - and for a wine of such breeding and ageing ability, it is worth every penny.

As a comparison to what I think of this wine, here's a tasting note by The Wine Gang, from April 2010 - with some remarkable similarities, I'm sure you will agree.......
"The nose is rustic and traditional, the aromas of sweet, damp earth, vegetation and meatiness rather than anything overtly fruity. There's a refined sandalwood note too. On the palate this comes together beautifully: it has a core of svelte black fruit wrapped in those smoky, meaty and vanillin flavours, the tannins surprisingly refined and the balance excellent. Powerful stuff with serious cellaring potential (10 years plus). 93/100"

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