April 27, 2020
The "Petrus of Bandol" Delivers Again — and Again. Let the Age-Worthy Pibarnon Bandol Rosé Transport You to the French Riviera as IWM’s First Rosé Returns!
“Rosés from Bandol like the Pibarnon are generally sturdier and can even age well.” - Eric Asimov, The New York Times
Sure, there is Valentini's elusive Cerasoulo which captivates and keeps us searching for more. There is also the farmer’s rosato of Biondi-Santi that Franco produced for his family and field team, showing us another side to the late, great Gentleman of Montalcino. Thirdly, there is our best-seller, the zippy La Spinetta Pink Rhino from Toscana that is filled with some Piemonte soul. However, for rosé, our boundaries certainly stretch beyond the Italian borders. Today, we return to the first rosé that Sergio and I brought in more than a decade ago, and that is the age-worthy pink from Château Pibarnon. In rosé, there is no doubt about it, Bandol is King, and this is a pinnacle expression that best represents the unique terroir.
We are not alone here. Eric Asimov of the New York Times echoed our sentiment a few years back when he selected Château Pibarnon as one of his top go-to rosé wines. There is no doubt about it: this serious rosé is the “Petrus of Bandol,” and it is one of those transporting wines that will take you to the Mediterranean, make you crave fresh shellfish and grilled rouget with herbs, and cause you to stare at Van Gogh paintings. But while many merchants are quick to gravitate to the new releases from 2019, our eyes and taste buds remain on the 2018 Château Pibarnon Bandol Rosé. It is simple; this is one of a handful of rosé wines that really benefits with an additional year of age in the bottle and it has once again stunned us — so much so that we went out and gobbled up the 2018s.
There is too much rosé plonk out there. Discover why Château Pibarnon Bandol Rosé has been called “one of the best rosés coming from the region” by many critics on release. Our only argument remains that it is that much better with a little bottle age, and after tasting the wine for the tenth time this weekend, I can personally attest to this. We are including the Pibarnon in some good company as we feature two of our favorite zip-a-dee-doo-dah rosé bottlings from La Spinetta and von Winning. These two wines are capable of elevating a meal with their vibrancy — they are delicious chilled today! Don’t miss this offer on serious rosé from the storied Bandol producer.
FEATURED WINE: OUR SIGNATURE BANDOL AND TOP ROSÉ PICKS (Click to Order)
Note: Wines can be mixed for assorted six packs and cases with special pricing
While we are not sure where “The Petrus of Bandol” statement originated, it certainly conveys the importance and status of this serious and age-worthy rosé. Our guess is that the phrase somehow derives from the estate’s unique blue clay subsoils (found also at Yquem and Petrus) that contribute to the wine’s refined aromas and rich, smooth texture. This is the result of a geological anomaly that took place at the end of the Mesozoic Era, and it's unique to Pibarnon. It is a special spot as the vineyards sit at the highest point in the Bandol appellation, more than 300 meters above sea level, staring directly out at the sparkling Mediterranean Bay of La Ciotat. This is one of the few locations that can best capture and mold Mourvèdre into the complex and fragrant wine that Pibarnon has become famous for. A blend of primarily of Mourvèdre and Cinsault, this wine's production is mostly direct press (80%), with the remainder (20%) made by the saignée method. For rosé, no doubt about it, Bandol is King and this is a pinnacle expression that best represents the terroir.
ADDITIONAL NOTES AND REVIEWS:
2018 Château de Pibarnon Bandol Rosé
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “Tasted ten times over 12 months, and it is just that much better with an additional year of age. The Pibarnon rosé is about 60%Mourvèdre (saignée), with the remainder free-run Cinsault. Unlike most Bandol producers, Eric de Saint-Victor prefers not to use Grenache, which he says would add too much fruit and alcohol to this classic old-world rosé. This is another mineral-driven rosé from soils rich with pebbly limestone over blue clay, and it is a classic, dry, more masculine, and savory interpretation of its appellation. After its intoxicating nose, you will find notes of strawberry, tangerine, nectarine, thai basil, rose petal, spice, petrol, minerality and refreshing acidity on the palate. The wine finishes dry with herbaceous undertones. You can taste the salty sea air in the palate of this rosé that derives from the vineyard’s hilltop position overlooking the Mediterranean. With air, this wine gains in weight with its crowd-pleasing, glycerin texture. In fact, I recommend enjoying this wine as it warms up in the glass. When I last spoke to Mr. de Saint-Victor, he recommended pairing it with the seafood delicacies of the region, particularly rouget or sea urchin, but it does well with good old conversation with family and friends. A favorite year after year, this is a serious rosé not to be missed for the season.”