Domaine Tempier

France, Provence

Domaine Tempier is an old family estate, owned by the Peyrauds since Lucien Peyraud married Lucie Tempier in 1834. The family was largely instrumental in getting the appellation of Bandol established in 1941. The reds are the quintessential expression of Mourvèdre, grown on terraced vineyards on steep hills around the 'plan du Castellet'.

Traditional vinification using indigenous yeasts, the wines are aged in a variety of different sized oak (25 to 75hl) for between 18 and 20 months. These are wines which are capable of long ageing, but even young they have a finesse of fruit and earthy flavour, coupled with fine-grained tannins, which lift them above the generality of Provençal reds.

Other reviews and comments
       Bandol is a tiny wine-producing region on the coast of provence, renowned for its Mourvèdre-based wines. Tempier is the most famous estate, and rightly so. The top cuvées - La Tourtine, La Migoua and Cabassaou, plus the blended Cuvée Spéciale have long-lived, cocoa-dipped black-cherry and blueberry-infused wines, with soft folds of tannins. Cabassaou has the hightest percentage of Mourvèdre and is the longest-living-for this reason, it's the most interesting, with its bay-leaf and black-peper herbal notes adding to the length and complexity. Thinking of having a smart barbecue? These wines are magnificent with char-grilled beef or lamb. (100 wines to try before you die, no. 77)

       One of the leading domaines in Bandol, Domaine Tempier is, without a doubt, the most visible producer from the appellation in the U.S. marketplace today. I think this is well-deserved (and a good thing for Bandol), as the wines are at the top of the hierarchy in terms of quality. The estate has been in the Peyraud family for generations and has a long, storied history that’s beautifully documented in Kermit Lynch’s newsletters and book, Adventures on the Wine Route (an absolute must read for any wine lover). The family is still going strong today, yet the wines are now made by Daniel Ravier. At this tasting, all of the wines showed brilliantly and possessed a surprising level of polish and texture, with no rusticity or coarseness at all. In addition to the wines I was able to review here, they also produce a white (60% Clairette, 19% Bourboulenc, 18% Ugni Blanc and the balance Marsanne), and a very limited red, the Cabassaou (95% Mourvedre, 4% Syrah and a splash of Cinsault).