Lambs grazing in Domaine Tempier Bandol vineyards in Provence, France
Red Bandol is a powerful, dark wine made in Provence in southeastern France. It is based on the Mourvèdre grape variety but may include other local grapes as well. It may taste of plums and smell of cinnamon, vanilla, and violets. Suggested food pairings include Flank Steak, Leg of Lamb, Quail, Rabbit, and Risotto with Mushrooms. You can age red Bandol for three to a dozen years.
Red Bandol starts at about $20 a bottle. Le Galatin Bandol is fine for starters, tasting of cherry, anise, marzipan and garrigue, a local spice. One of the better producers is Domaine Tempier, whose Bandol will run you about $32. It's a powerful wine (what Bandol isn't?) smelling and tasting of blackberry, blueberry, kirsch, and red plums. Their top of the line Bandol for about $6 more is even better. One of their winemakers, Léonie Tempier, won a gold medal way back in 1885. By the way, the wine wasn't called Bandol then; the appellation was first created in 1941.