Bandol (rouge) drinking windows

I’m a fan of Bandol but I’m struggling a bit with deciding what to drink and when when it comes to the red wines of the appellation. Obviously there are lots of stylistic differences between the producers and as such hard and fast rules might not be possible but I would love to hear the forumites’ thoughts on the matter. My own experience is that the sweet spot is often somewhere around 20 years from the vintage but unfortunately mature Bandol is not that widely available. At restaurants I’ve enjoyed many young vintages without a problem but where I’ve struggled quite a bit is the ~10 year range where the wines have just seemed awkward. Is a dumb phase a common thing perhaps? If so then when would it typically take place? Obviously my sample size is not massive and I assume that both producer style and vintage play a big part here.

So please, share your knowledge and experiences to help me and others to get more enjoyment out of this fine red wine. My cellar includes producers like Tempier, Terrebrune, Pradeaux, Gros 'Noré, La Bastide Blanche, Ray-Jane, Gaussen and La Tour du Bon but comments on other producers or in general are very much welcome.

I can only comment on Tempier, but I agree they taste great at 20 years old.

How about Ott?

I’m most familiar with Tempier, which I have never know to go through a dumb period, but 20 years sounds like a good yardstick to use. By that age they mellow tremendously but still retain a strong southern warmth.

A 1982 Ott was my epiphany moment when enjoyed in about 1993 - and I drank the 6 bottles up until 2001, very traditional Bandol.

Tempier of course,
but there are other traditional producers like Pibarnon, Pradeaux, Bastide blanche, Vanierres and (the top cuvee of) Bunan … they usually are drinking well right after release but need a good 15-20 years and more to full maturity. Tempier Cabassaou even longer.

There are a lot of easier Bandols that are for drinking over the 1st 8-10 years, forgot the names because I drink them usually in restaurants and do not take them back home.

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Thanks Gerhard! Taste very traditional to me! So 10-20 years is ideal I guess from what you’ve said.

It’s a pity the bottles are so ugly, though!

What Gerhard says is a very good guide. I must say however that I’ve had some Tempier Cabassaou at 10-15 years old, that while clearly still not mature. have been fantastic to drink at that age.

It really depends on the vintage and cuvée. At 13 years, I think most '06 Bandol rouge (not the special cuvées) from most producers are in a great spot where vintages like '99, '01, '95 still need a long time. Though not a blockbuster year, '08s are showing well for the standard cuvées and I have been grabbing all that I can find.

On the flip side–'16’s… those I have tried already, are fairly accessible. The '16 Tempier Bandol Rouge is crazy approachable. I have stashed a bunch away, but have also consumed 3 this year.

For producers-
I have a line in my brain where Terrebrune is at one edge as one of the most approachable producers in their youth (though still age worthy) and Pradeaux is at the opposite edge requiring the most time. I won’t bore you with where I think the others fall, but to me, Tempier sits in the middle.

Most familiar with Tempier. I drink them young with a lot of air, they decant well, and then hold onto at least a six pack each vintage to age. Agree, special cuvees need at least 10 years to start checking in on them. I feel like grenache-based wines (eg CDP) go through more of a dumb phase in the 5-15 YO range than mourvedre-based wines. Obviously this varies immensely by producer/vintage and my palate.

Tempier experiences here.

93s/95s (Miguoa and Tourtine) drinking very well the last 6 years. 2000 Special cuvee was very tannic and young 2 years ago.

Thanks a lot! I certainly would not be bored by any extra info - just the opposite - so if you have the time and energy please go ahead [cheers.gif]

I too have enjoyed young Terrebrune on several occasions a lot so I have to agree with your take there. Likewise to me young Pradeaux seems to be all acid and tannin though with a lot of charisma as well. I think perhaps the most interesting one outside the three mentioned would be Gros 'Noré as I have the 2013, 2014 and 2015 vintages in the cellar.

Thanks everyone else for chiming in as well. Clearly Tempier is enjoying a good distribution there in the US.

I enjoyed a bottle of '94 Tempier Bandol that was absolutely singing this past Saturday night. It made me exceedingly happy.

Is there a vintage chart for Bandol? I can’t find one on the net that goes back before 2000 (and it’s not that accurate anyway). I’ve had some great success with picking up some '90s wines from the secondary market, choosing more or less based more less on CT tasting notes, but I’ve also had some expensive bummers. I was wondering if there was something that might direct my efforts a bit more efficiently. I thought of this because I popped a 2001 Tempier basic cuvée last night and it was crazy good, even better on the second day.

Ive had a bunch of early and mid 1990s Tempier in the last year or so, drinking very well still. But no need to wait longer.

Where are you guys finding old Bandol ? Other than restaurants it seems scarce to find later on.

Where are you guys finding old Bandol ? Other than restaurants it seems scarce to find later on.