Domaines Ott Chateau Romassan Bandol Rouge 2014
Grown differently from rosé wine, the Château Romassan vines dedicated to reds are mainly planted with Mourvèdre, a grape variety characterized by its solidity, structure and great capacity for ageing. The main component in this blend, Mourvèdre is combined with the full-bodied texture of Grenache.
Its dense color can show tints of purple, garnet or ruby. Powerful, delicious and elegant, its red berry bouquet reveals aromas of cherry, blackcurrant and peppery spices in the mouth. They reappear on the palate after the very appealing initial attack. This balanced softness and unctuousness leads up to a silky finish.
Domaines Ott was founded in 1912 by Alsatian engineer Marcel Ott. Today, the wineries are owned and managed by Champagne Louis Roederer, producing some of the world’s most prestigious wines. These wines are made at three distinctively different estates: Chateau Romassan (Bandol), Clos Mireille and Chateau de Selle (both Côtes de Provence).
Located in the Côtes de Provence appellation, Chateau de Selle, the 18th century home of the Counts de Provence, was the first property acquired by the Ott family in 1912. The winery is perched high on a plateau, enjoying abundant sunshine and an arid soil.
Clos Mireille was acquired by the Ott family in 1935. The estate’s picturesque seafront location is known for its mix of shale and clay soils; the schistous soil dates back some 340 million years. The microclimate and the sea spray provide highly favorable conditions for both the rosé and the white wines. Chateau Romassan was acquired in 1956 and lies at the foot of the village of Le Castellet in the heart of the Bandol appellation. The property was entirely remodeled and re-planted over a 30-year period. The estate’s country house dates back to the 18th century and its cellars have superbly vaulted ceilings.
It was Provence that inspired the iconic bottle shape for René Ott. Using the landscape and Roman amphoras as inspiration, René carved a timeless design that embodied his vision.
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.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.
In the Glass
The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.
Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.
Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.