The Bandol AC, on the Provencal coast, is the one AC where Mourvedre is allowed as the dominant grape. For such a big wine it is surprising to learn that the vine is fussy and the grapes difficult to ripen . A high temperature is essential and even then the picking window is short. Originally Spanish (Monastrell; Mataro in Australia & California) the wine made is traditionally solid in style, with high tannins and alcohol. Chateau de Pradeaux 2004 is 95% Mourvedre and recognised as being one of the better producers. The colour was deep red and slightly muddy but showing no brown edges to its red colour. The nose took some time to develop its slightly menthol and prune bouquet with more than a hint of sweetness. However, the paler was definitely dry with high tannin levels and deep flavours of dark fruit. An assertive wine, this was a powerful drink but still a pleasant one, helped, no doubt, by the relatively low ABV of 13.5%. It cost £21.
[Richard: another from Leon Stolarski’s ‘day 2’ case. As he says, ‘if you are looking for modern, oaky fruit bombs, you are looking in the wrong place. For these are sturdy wines, offering a combination of power and elegance and a strong tannic backbone…’ which sums the wine up perfectly. An interesting drink, although not as good as the other Bandol tasted this year. Geoff’s far too modest to mention it but he identified (blind), the country, then the region, then the grape. The Oz Clarke of Sutton Coldfield.]