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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. The domaine is currently under the direction of Cyrille Portalis, 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 vineyards are cultivated in as natural a manner as possible with reliance on organic methods. In fact, for many years during the spring months sheep grazed in the vineyards thereby eliminating any need to use herbicides and at the same time providing a natural compost.
The Bandol from Pradeaux is a creature whose soul emerges from 95% Mourvèdre, with 5% Grenache adding spice to the bouquet and leavening some of the intimidating structure of the Mourvèdre. Situated mere steps from the Mediterranean, harvest at Pradeaux (always manual) starts in earnest during the first weeks of October, with low yields averaging 25 hl/ha. One of the hallmarks of Pradeaux is that the grapes are never destemmed. The result is a wine of ferocious tannin in its youth, a reason for the prolonged aging in large wooden barrels for over 4 years, a time for the wine to repose and find its identity as it emerges from the cocoon of tannins to reveal an exceptionally complex crowd of aromas and flavors.
"A super effort, Pradeaux's 2016 Bandol is the typical estate blend of 95% Mourvèdre and 5% Grenache, aged in foudres. Hints of mossy, tree-bark complexity and even a bit of truffle are beginning to emerge on the nose, joined by scents of cherries and plums, while the rich, full-bodied palate is framed by softening, fine-grained tannins that linger elegantly on the long finish." - 95 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Producer: Château Pradeaux
Varietal: Mourvèdre, Grenache