Did You Know That There is Old Wine Available in Richmond?

Old wine, mature wine, ancient wine from erstwhile 1999.

Dreams of a bygone era gave us Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant’s love affair in the picture show “Notting Hill” , new world Ford acquired old world Volvo and writer Stephen King was hit by a mini-van, but the most important occurrence of this departed year was a wine harvested from the lost realm of Bandol.

The Bandol wine region of Provence sits on the coastal mountain ranges above the Mediterranean.  The best vineyards are situated north of the charming seaside town of Bandol in the communes of Le Castellet, Evenos and La Cadière d’Azur.  The terraced plots of silicon and limestone heavy soils are planted with mostly the Mourvèdre grape and it is one of the only places in the world where it will fully ripen thanks to the combination of hot sunshine and cool northern Mistral winds.  The wines are spicy, animalistic and wild.  In their youth the reds are stiff and tannic and need years to mellow to display their full range of meaty weight and Provencal herbal aromas.

1999 Domaine du Gros’ Noré Bandol Rouge.  $45. Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant.  

There once was a gentleman named Honoré Pascal (called Noré by his friends) that farmed 16 hectares of vines and sold his fruit to some of the most famous producers in the area including Domaine Ott and Château de Pibarnon.   After his death in 1997 his son Alain took over and began estate bottling the wines under the name Gros’ Noré after his father (gros’ means “fat”).  1999 was a cherished year producing ripe fruit balanced with strong substance and a plucky bouquet.  It is only the third vintage of this wine and there is loads of it available in Richmond at a reasonable price considering how expensive the more famous Bandols from Domaine Tempier and Chateau Pradeaux can be.

Nice lookin 12 year old cork.   Most people won’t hesitate to spend $50 on bottle of wine at a restaurant.  Wouldn’t it be nice to prepare a leg of lamb at home with some rosemary and garlic and drink this beauty alongside it?  Maybe take this wine to Bistro Bobette on free corkage night Monday and have the chef’s beef tenderloin, or show up to Enoteca Sogno on free corkage night Tuesday and have pork chops?
Don’t let Bandol become just another footnote in history.

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