A Drink From The Porron

A Drink From The Porron

Bandol: New Beginnings in the Crossroads of the Mediterranean

It’s fitting that we are kicking-off 2018 by introducing a new vigneron to our portfolio, Château Canadel, with the origin story of the famed Bandol region and its most prized grape, mourvèdre.

Based on the ancient Mediterranean sea-trading routes of what is now Spain and France, the origins of the mourvèdre grape are likely in the Valencia province of Spain, where it is known as monastrell and is featured in the wines of Jumilla, Alicante and Almansa. Derived from the Latin monasteriellu, diminutive of monastery, it is thought that the grape was introduced to Provence in the 16th century from the Eastern Spanish port of Sagunto, known for ten centuries as Murviedro, in the province of Valencia.

Historic Origins

The history of Château Canadel property in Bandol dates to the Romans, and then in later years, the estate belonged to the Abbey of Saint Victor de Marseille and then to the Counts of Provence until the end of the Middle Ages. At that time, the hill was fashioned into terraces so that vineyards, olives and fruit tree orchards could be planted. The 5 houses on the estate were built one after another between the 13th and 15th centuries. They are built like a little village around a chapel and the water canals that gave the estate its name, which evolved over time: Canal d’eau to Canadeau, and then Canadel. Prior to the building of the harbor of Bandol, the barrels of wine were marked with a “B” and then tossed into the ocean to be loaded onto ships bound for distant ports, where the red wines gained fame for their ability to improve during the long voyages.

Vines in Bandol

Terroir Unique to Bandol

Canadel’s unique vineyards are planted on a geological anomaly with an inversion of soil layers from the birth of the Alps, known as the Renversement du Beausset. This resulted in the Triassic layer (200 million years old) being flipped above the Cretaceous (65 million years old), due to the subduction of a tectonic plate which has surfaced the oldest rock outcroppings in the whole of the appellation. To our knowledge, this unusual soil for the area is only also found at Pibarnon and in Domaine Tempier’s La Migoua vineyard, but almost nowhere else in appellation. The limestone and clay soils are particularly good for water retention in an otherwise arid region. The vineyards are planted on south-facing restanques (terraces), directly facing the Massif du Gros Cerveau, which blocks rain clouds and provides an ideal climate for full ripening of the indigenous mourvèdre grape in full view of the sparkling Mediterranean.

Laure and Vianney

A New Generation of Vignerons

Throughout the 20th century, traditionally the grapes from this estate were sold to Domaine Ott. In 2007, the estate was purchased by Jacques and Caroline de Chateauvieux, who were returning with their family from the island of Réunion, beginning the revitalization of the unique history of the property and terroir.

Since 2009, the winery is run by their daughter Laure Benoist (agricultural engineer) and her husband Vianney Benoist (agronomist and enologist). Having spent 4 years making wine with the famed Domaine Tempier team, Vianney gained valuable experience in making soulful, broad-spectrum, cinematic red wines befitting of the Bandol appellation.

Laure and Vianney practice organic viticulture and use biodynamic principles in their vineyard work, with all work being done by hand on the terraces. All movement in the winery is by gravity flow. Finally, after 5 years of diligent work in their vineyards, the first vintage was made in 2014 and the resulting wines already show incredible depth and terroir expression. We are thrilled to offer to you the results of this long history and fresh, young energy in our first offering.

Offering Winter 2018

In February 2018 we are pleased to release their brilliant Bandol rouge from the historic 2015 vintage and a limited special release of their 2016 Bandol rosé (limited to 50 cases). We will follow this with a Summer release of 2017 rosé, in the tradition Bandol ageing.

2015 Château Canadel Bandol Rouge

Canadel 2015 was a warm, sunny year, yet had good water reserves from a rainy winter which allowed for ideal ripeness levels without the loss of acidity or freshness. Ample, ripe tannins have the structure to make this an epic vintage. Harvest is a by hand and began August 31 with grenache and ended September 22 with mourvèdre.

The 2015 Bandol rouge is comprised of 73% mourvèdre, 20% cinsault, 5% grenache, and 2% syrah with an average vine age of 37 years which yielded 35hl/ha of wine. The grapes are hand-harvested and sorted in the vineyard, then sorted again at the cellar before being de-stemmed. The fermentation with indigenous yeasts lasts 20 days in concrete tanks, with gentle pumping over each day. The wines then are aged 18 months in the traditional foudres of 3000L and 8000L, then bottled unfiltered by gravity in May 2016.

The 2015 Bandol rouge is aromatic, powerful, sophisticated and lengthy with ample acidity and with a knife’s-edge balance. These are savory wines of place with great staying power and electricity running through them.

2016 Château Canadel Bandol Rosé
(special release limited to 50 cases)

Canadel 2016 started with a particularly dry and mild winter with early bud break, but the very cool spring slowed down the growth of the vines. The summer was then dry and windy with lots of heat accelerating the maturity of the grapes. Harvest began very early, on August 25th and ended on September 14th. In spite of the lack of water, the vines resisted water stress well due to the unique soils, drawing water from the deep clays and regulating their vegetative development. The grapes harvested are small, perfectly healthy and very concentrated, with a nice acidity.

Their 2016 Bandol Rosé is comprised of 50% mourvèdre, 40% cinsault, and 10% grenache which yielded 35 hl/ha of wine. The grapes were hand-harvested at great maturity for rosé wines. They are then sorted again at the cellar before being de-stemmed. Mourvèdre and cinsault were directly pressed, whereas grenache has to macerate for 24 hours at 12°C before it’s pressed. The natural yeast fermentation lasted 20 days at 17 to 20°C in stainless steel and concrete tanks. Finally the wines are aged 6 months in stainless steel tanks and concrete.

The 2016 Rosé has delicate aromas of vine peach, clementine and tropical fruits with an ample and elegant mouthfeel, spicy aromas and a slight hint of sea salt. The finish is lingering and intense, both fresh and voluptuous at the same time.