Domaine Pradeaux Bandol Rose 2019
There is the appellation of Bandol with its plethora of producers, some good, some mediocre; and then there is Château Pradeaux, the unique, inimitable, standard-bearer for this ancient wine-growing district. The Château Pradeaux is situated on the outskirts of the town of Saint Cyr-sur-Mer that lies directly on the Mediterranean Ocean between Toulon and Marseilles. The estate has been in the hands of the Portalis family since before the French Revolution. In fact, Jean-Marie-Etienne Portalis, who inherited the estate in 1752, helped draft the Napoleonic Code and assisted at the negotiation of the Concordat under Napoleon the First. The estate was devastated during the French Revolution and suffered the effects of the phylloxera epidemic in the 19th century. Suzanne Portalis and her daughter, Arlette, retreated to the domaine during World War II and undertook to revive the domaine. The domaine is currently under the direction of Cyrille Portalis, the sole direct descendant of Suzanne and Arlette. He continues to maintain the great traditions of this estate and is assisted by his wife, Magali, and now his two sons, Etienne and Edouard.
The Bandol Rosé from Pradeaux is perhaps the most serious wine in this category. Robust, rich, and complex with an ability to age gracefully, the 2019 is based on equal parts Cinsault and Mourvèdre, taking its slight orange tint from the latter grape. The younger vines of the domaine (average age: 25 years) are utilized to produce this rare rosé with staying power and exceptional complexity. The juice is vinified by direct pressing for 24 hours followed by fermentation in cement tank at a controlled temperature for around 15 days. Malolactic fermentation is blocked and the wine is usually bottled mid-April following harvest.