The Wines of Bandol: Exceptional Vintages from the Cote D’Azur

Photos by Emmanuel Lupe with the Go Pro Hero 3

Located Only An Hour And A Half By Plane From Paris And About 60 Miles From The Marseille Airport, Bandol Is A Little Paradise Village On The French Riviera’s Mediterranean Coastline.

Located only an hour and a half by plane from Paris and about 60 miles from the Marseille airport, Bandol is a little paradise village on the French Riviera’s Mediterranean coastline. Bandol is a true seaside resort and one of France’s favorite places to vacation during the summer. Those who can come to visit the Bandol area will be able to idle away the time exploring the twisting little narrow roads that climb up the hillsides in this magnificent countryside. These roads will lead them from “domaines” to “châteaux” (wine producing estates). There are only twenty of them and they are all just next door to one another. This “Bandol wine appellation” is just making its way out into the world so that, for the time being, it is still within the Bandol area that wine lovers can find exceptional wines at very affordable prices that don’t compare to Bordeaux or other Burgundy high-priced wines. It is a wine for wine lovers to collect. For every great appellation there is a corresponding great “cépage,” and all collectors and wine lovers should have a cellar where the wines produced from the world’s most famous “cépages” are tenderly collected together.

It is the Mourvèdre grape that only exists in the Bandol region which provides red and rosé Bandol wines with their very special typicality. Mourvèdre is a stubborn variety to grow, which provides the unique character of Bandol wine. It really only feels at home in the Bandol area, but it does ripen in this rugged, uneven countryside. Other grape varieties include Grenache and Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan. For the white wines, Bourboulenc, Clairette and Ugni Blanc are the standard grape varieties, with Sauvignon also being authorized.

The climate in the Bandol area is particularly suited to cultivating wines. Surrounded by a vast amphitheatre of mountains and enclosed by hills rising to a height of 1,300 feet, the vineyards slope down to the sea, facing south. They receive more sunshine than any other location on the French Riviera (more than 3,000 hours a year) and also benefit from the favorable influence of the mistral wind.

“The Château De Pibarnon Sits At The End Of A Long, Sinuous Road, On Top Of The Wooded Télégraphe Hill, Once A Station On The Old Toulon-Paris Optical Telegraph Relay.”

During our visit, we were able to visit most of the top châteaux and domains, and we picked two that you really need to see when you come to Bandol.

Le Domaine de Château Vannières is definitely one of the most sophisticated and recognized Bandol wines. Château Vannières is owned and managed by Éric Boisseaux, nicknamed “Le Suzerain de Bandol.” Boisseaux makes red wines and an outstanding rosé. Le Château Vannières Domaine is located between the village of la Cadière d’Azur and Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, near the village du Castellet. The Château Vannières rosé is brilliant, very pale salmon pink, and has an exotic and mineral nose with notes of orange peel and angelica. In addition to its fruity palate, you will discover notes of toasted almonds. It will go wonderfully with grilled and Provencal dishes like bouillabaisse, fish, anchovies, ratatouille or stuffed vegetables. This is a rosé of gastronomy. Red wines from Château Vannières grapes are Mourvèdre and Grenache, obtained after a long winemaking process. Visit

“For Every Great Appellation There Is A Corresponding Great “Cépage,” And All Collectors Should Have A Cellar Where The Wines Produced From The World’s Most Famous “Cépages” Are Tenderly Collected Together.”

The Château de Pibarnon sits at the end of a long, sinuous road, on top of the wooded Télégraphe hill, once a station on the old Toulon-Paris optical telegraph relay. In 1977, the 48-hectare château was bought and restored by Comte Henri de St-Victor and his wife, who gave up a successful business elsewhere to indulge a passion. They now run the estate with their son Eric. The house is a fine Provençale bastide dating from the 13th century.

Much of the magic at Pibarnon, as with any great wine, comes from the land. Set on 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.

About The Author

Emmanuel Lupe is the former executive automotive and luxury travel editor for Jetset Magazine. Emmanuel travels all around the world to cover sporting events such as F1 and sports car racing. He test drives the most luxurious cars as soon as they are unveiled! Lupe also attends auto shows, new car launches and luxury car events behind the scenes to make sure Jetset readers are the first to learn about them! He also travels the globe to discover the best hotels of the world and unique and exotic destinations so Jetset readers can follow in his footsteps right after him! For editorial consideration please contact editor@jetsetmag(dot)com.

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