NYT’s “Rustic and Soulful” Bandol Producer
As one of the top producers in France’s dreamy Bandol region of Provence, Domaine du Gros’ Noré used to sell their fruit to greats like Domaine Ott and Château de Pibarnon. But now they keep it for themselves. None other than The New York Times’ Eric Asimov has included Gros’ Noré as one of only three wineries featured in two different Bandol wine articles this year, hailing their style as “rustic and soulful.” Past vintages have left Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate “blown away by the quality here,” and we can’t wait to see how the 2015 vintage at Gros’ Noré is greeted by critics. Ahead of the reviews, this is your chance to dive into one of our absolutely favorite Provence discoveries.
Credit for this beauty of a Bandol traces back to Alain Pascal and his father, Honoré, for whom the domaine is named. Alain is a former boxer and an avid hunter, and the bold strength in his wines is inflected with a gentle touch that would surprise only those who haven’t met him. His importer, Kermit Lynch, shares colorful Alain stories in his book Inspiring Thirst, dubbing Pascal’s winemaking style: “Magnificent Bandols made in the simplest manner, très franc de goût, with a whole lotta soul.” After his father’s death in 1997, Alain officially started Domaine du Gros’ Noré, manning the vineyards with the help of his brother, Guy. Immediately, Alain became a major Provençal contender and his wines a critic and consumer favorite.
Gros’ Noré’s vineyards sprawl over 40 acres on the rolling hillsides around La Cadière d’Azur. The soils are rich with both clay and limestone, imparting earthy intensity and structure to blanc, rosé and rouge wines. Blessed with a warm, sunny Mediterranean microclimate, Mistral winds keep the grapes cool and balanced. Allowing grapes to fully mature on the vines, Alain boldly uses 80 percent Mourvèdre as his base (appellation law requires that each blend includes a minimum of 50 percent Mourvèdre), imparting the bold strength that reflects his grapes, the land, and his unique character.