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Chateau de Pibarnon Bandol Rouge 2010

  • RP94
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

The Mourvedre is a very fragrant grape, producing wines of great depth, a rich colour and enormous complexity. It ripens late and performs best in the warm Mediterranean climate of Bandol. At Pibarnon, to ensure perfect maturity, the grapes are often picked 10 days later than is customary in Bandol. The upshot is a wine that compares favorably with great names from the more prestigious vineyards in France. When young, Pibarnon Rouge displays a massive floral bouquet with black cherries and spices. The firm acidity of the Mourvedre gives good definition and a solid foundation for long term development. With time the wine mellows, exhibiting a harmonious elegance and wonderful heady flavors of truffles, wet leaves and cinnamon.

Blend: 90 % Mourvedre, 10% Grenache

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Moving to the classic cuvee and even more impressive (it was one of the top wines I was able to taste for this report), the 2010 Bandol, which is over 90% Mourvedre, sees partial destemming and aging in oak casks, offers both gorgeous aromatic complexity and superb richness and depth on the palate. Giving up notions of pepper, Provencal herbs, underbrush and leather, with a solid core of dark fruit, this medium to full-bodied, pure, layered and beautifully balanced effort needs another 2-3 years of bottle age, and will easily keep for a decade or more past that. Run by the Saint-Victor family since 1975, Chateau Pibarnon lies in the northern part of the appellation and consists of steep, terraced slopes and unique blue marl and limestone soils. The wines are gorgeous and offer classic examples of the appellation.
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Chateau de Pibarnon

Chateau de Pibarnon

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Chateau de Pibarnon, France
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Much of the magic at Pibarnon, as with any great wine, comes from the land. The highest point in the Bandol appellation, Pibarnon's vineyards curve and cut into each stony, chalk-rich hillside, creating a series of terraces (or "restanques") that face southeast. The minerality from this chalky terroir finds its way into the wine's perfume as notes of white pepper and flinty smoke.

Henri de Saint-Victor, descended from a prominent Paris family, discovered the potential of the Pibarnon site and planted it to Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Grenache. His son, Eric, is now taking this historic estate to a new level. Yields are being driven ever lower, and a fully modernized cellar is finally complete.

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Provence’s leader in concentrated and age-worthy red wines, Bandol is home to the dense, deep and earthy Mourvèdre grape. Like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Bandol produces characterful reds that, while approachable in their youth, are typically designed for the cellar. Given its coastal, Provencal situation, Bandol naturally produces an assortment of charming, aromatic rosés made of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault.

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Full of color, ripe fruit, plenty of texture and earthy goodness, Mourvèdre is an important grape in many key regions in the south of France, as well as in Spain and the New World. Mourvèdre is actually of Spanish provenance (there known as Monastrell or Mataro) and is the key variety in Alicante, Jumilla and Yecla. It truly thrives, however, in Provence’s Bandol region, where it shines on its own as a single varietal red and in Southern Rhône where it palys a major part in blends . It is also of great importance in the Southern Rhône alongside Grenache and Syrah—and in California and Australia, as a single varietal wine or in Rhône blends.

In the Glass

At their finest, Mourvèdre wines are robust and full of brambly red and black fruit, and aromas and flavors of herbs, leather, earth, dark chocolate and licorice. Well-aged examples can show an impressive degree of elegance and an attractive perfume. In blends with Grenache and Syrah, Mourvèdre provides fleshy texture, tannic structure and deep color.

Perfect Pairings

This earthy Mediterranean variety loves rustic food—think cassoulet, wild boar ragu or smoky ribs. Mourvèdre’s tannins are bold but not bitter, lending both weight and texture.

Sommelier Secret

Mourvèdre used to have significant plantings in California, but the vine lost popularity during the 20th century in favor of other varieties. However, in the 1980s, a group of California winemakers inspired by the wines of the Rhône Valley have been working to bring the variety back into the spotlight. Plantings have since increased and Rhône blends are now a highly-regarded specialty of the Central Coast.

SKRFPB115_2010 Item# 142116

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