Our tasting impressions
The 2016, probably because of the extra bottle age, seems the most Bandol transparent of the 3 vintages. It is the weightiest and most refined. We love the energy and intensity of this wine. The tannins are smooth but pronounced. Clearly this will benefit from more cellar time but it drinks fabulously well already. Very impressive and exactly what we want in our beloved Bandol.
About this wine
A blend of 70% Mourvèdre, 22% Cinsault, 5% Grenache and 3% Syrah from south-facing vines planted on steep slopes, on average 37 years ago in limestone and clay soil. Yields are a miserly 22 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 fermentation is two to three weeks in concrete tanks, with light pumping over each day. The wines are aged 18 months in oak barrels of 30 to 80 hl.
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, contributes considerable aromatics. Grenache adds body, concentration and vivid red fruit flavors. Syrah provides structure, savoriness and black fruit.
Vianney's perspective on the vintage
The winter was very dry and mild. The first leaves appeared very early, but the very cool spring slowed down the growth of the vines. The flowering took place in ideal conditions, with very good cluster development. The drought persisted, necessitating a green harvest to ensure a quality yield. The summer of 2016 was dry, windy and increasingly hot - accelerating the ripening.
The harvest began very early on August 25 and ended on September 14. Despite the lack of water, the vines held up well, drawing on moisture deep within the soil. The grapes harvested were small, perfectly healthy and very concentrated, with good acidity.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl 1855
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.