Our tasting impressions
Definitely not an everyday, sit-around-the-pool, summer-sippin' Rosé. There's a reason that Provence Rosés - and those from Bandol, in particular - command so much respect. This is a wine with body, weight and structure. But it also has precise, zesty fruit flavors, interesting earthiness, a touch of saltiness and remarkable length. Based on our tasting of the prior vintage, another 6-12 months will amp up all of these fine qualities and bring them all together into a wine that will cause you to rethink your views on Rosé. Plus, you can cellar it for at least 10 years to coax out more complex, earthy flavors.
About this wine
A blend of 50% Mourvèdre, 40% Cinsault and 10% Grenache from vineyards planted, on average, 23 years ago in limestone and clay. Yields are just 30 hl/ha.
The grapes are hand-harvested and sorted in the vineyard. They are then sorted again at the cellar before being de-stemmed. The Mourvèdre and Cinsault are pressed right away while the Grenache macerates for 24 hours before pressing. The fermentation is 20 days on average. The wines age 6 months in concrete or stainless steel tanks.
Serve at 50-54°.
About the grape blend
Mourvèdre, which originated in Spain must constitute at least 50% of the cépage in order to be labeled Bandol Rouge or Rosé. This late-ripening grape ,known elsewhere as Monastrell or Mataro, thrives in hot and dry climates. The small, black grapes produce very tannic wine that are prone to reduction and gaminess.
Cinsault, a light-skinned grape, is well-suited to Rosé because of its soft but considerable aromas. Yields must be managed or it can be flavorless. Grenache adds body, concentration and vivid red fruit flavors.
Vianney's perspective on the vintage
The winter 2020 vintage was mild and wet, ideal for rehydrating the soil. First buds, which appeared mid-March were lost to a frost on March 26th. Spring was also damp but cool, creating fine conditions vine growth, with beautiful cluster development on the Mourvèdre and Grenache but much more irregular for the Cinsault, which had suffered from the frost and drought of the previous vintage.
The summer was dry but not too hot. Even in the shallow terrain, the vines had ample water but reached maturity at the end of August at varying times. It was necessary to juggle these differences in maturity, sometimes within the same plot, to harvest each vine at its optimum.
The harvest started very early, on August 24th with Cinsault and Grenache for the rosé. We harvested the whites on August 28th. With the shifts in maturity and the return of some rains, we had to take breaks to reach perfect maturity, especially for the Mourvèdre in rosé and red. We finished the harvest on September 16th.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Liberté
Château Canadel is a new estate in the Provencal of Bandol but the property was first farmed by the Romans. The name, Canadel is a derivation of Canal d'eau because of the water canals surrounding the Abbey that was one of 5 middle age buildings on-site.
For much of the 20th century, the property's grape were sold to the famous Domaine Ott. But since 2009, it has been run by Laure (agricultural engineer) and Vianney (agronomist & oenologist) Benoist. Laure's parents own the estate. Vianney worked previously at the prestigious Domaine Tempier.
Canadel has extraordinary and uncommon terroir. The Gros Cerveau mountains protects its vineyards from morning mist and drenching eastern rain. Also, its soil is one of the few in the area that was created by a collision of tectonic plates (known as a fold mountain) that placed the older Triassic era layer on top of that of the more recent Cretaceous era. The overlaying limestone and sandstone is excellent for retaining moisture.
The 15 hectare vineyard is farmed biodynamic (mostly manually) and is certified organic. The vines are arranged in terraces (restanques). Stone walls limit erosion and regulate the temperatures and flow of rainwater.
The Benoists' passion is evident in their wines. Already they are producing fabulous expressions of Bandol. VDLT is delighted to be the only source for their entire range of white, rosé and red.