Today’s Story: Domaine de la Tour du Bon
Domaine de la Tour du Bon traces its history back to 1925 when a couple purchased a working farm that consisted of vast countryside and olive trees. During the 1930s, the property hosted pigs, sheep, bees, fig and olive trees, and vines that would ultimately take over more and more land from the olive trees. Though wine production began, it wasn’t until 1955 that the name Domaine de la Tour du Bon was registered and the first bottle label was established. As the domaine expanded wine production, they built a large farmhouse between 1960 and 1962 that houses a cellar and helped increase capacity for vineyards. In 1968, the Hocquard family took ownership of the domaine after working a crush and the birth of three children during the 1970s helped lay the foundation of the estate becoming a family operation. In 1990, Agnès Henry (Mr. and Mrs. Hocquard’s daughter) made the domaine her home and workplace and functioned as winemaker where she remains to this day.
Domaine de la Tour du Bon is located at an elevation of 150m above sea level in Le Brûlat du Castellet which lies in the northwestern corner of Bandol. The land here requires great determination to farm and planting the vineyards was no easy feat thanks to the soil mix of limestone, clay, gravel, and red subsoil (some of the rock pulled to plant the vines even went into building the farmhouse). Agnès practices organic farming methods (she began exploring biodynamic methods a few years ago) on her 14 hectares of land and all fruit is hand-harvested to produce six different bottlings. Agnès produces Bandol Blanc, Bandol Rouge, Bandol Rouge Saint Ferréol, and Bandol Rosé from 11 hectares of vines averaging 38 years old, as well as a Vin de France “D’Ici” from 0.5 hectares of vines planted in 1970 (Grenache) and the En Sol from 0.2 hectares of vines 45 years old (Mourvèdre).
Today’s Wine: 2017 En Sol
100% Mourvèdre; 14.5% ABV
The 2017 En Sol is an opaque deep purple color with some deep ruby variation near the rim. I let this decant for about an hour and the nose showcases aromas of blueberry, plum, cherry, smoked meat, tobacco, eucalyptus, nail polish remover, mint, and a hint of chocolate. Once in the mouth, this wine shows notes of juicy plum, blackberry compote, smoke, violet, anise, loamy earth, game, gravel, and green herbs. This is a full-bodied Mourvèdre with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) tannins, and a long finish. I was surprised how elegant and soft this is for a Mourvèdre, especially one this young.
Price: $80. This is an outstanding Mourvèdre that for its elegance and finesse makes me very excited to see where it will go with more bottle age. Pair this with game, beef, lamb, or pork.