Château de Pibarnon Bandol Rosé 2004
In the Provençal heat there is little better than a bottle of chilled pink Bandol, or also the lesser known white Bandol, which from the right source can be just as delicious. I have enjoyed many such bottles - mainly Bandol, but less frequently examples from Tavel, or the Côtes de Provence, or even on the odd occasion from Vin de Pays de Gard - on a baking summer evening. Wonderful for dining al fresco, or at a roadside cafe, where they do a fine job of washing down the local fare. The weather during the weekend was not quite up to the standard you might find on the Mediterranean coast, but nevertheless it has been delightful. Warm sunny days which perhaps herald a fine summer yet to come (and perhaps not). It certainly called for a suitable wine, one which would cope with the climate as well as a range of barbecued foods. Out came this bottle, the 2004 Bandol Rosé from Château de Pibarnon. This was one of a couple of bottles I picked up in the UK for a bargain price, in fact considerably less than I paid at the domaine when I visited in 2005. At the time I wrote, of this wine, that it was without doubt one of the greatest rosés I have ever tasted. Perhaps the Provençal sun was getting to me? Or perhaps not. I recall I was so bowled over by the delicious rosé (and the white wine also) that I bought a few more to drink during my time there.
How time flies - it is now almost two years since I visited the domaine. Nevertheless, this wine still displays, through the clear glass of the bottle, that wonderful colour that distinguishes it, it seems, from lesser rosé wines. Put simply, this pink wine just isn't pink; rather it has a fine, peachy hue, reminiscent of an autumn sunset, a little too deep and rich for the description of onionskin, but it is certainly a beautiful hue nevertheless. On the nose it remains very fresh and well defined, with notes of tangerine, strawberry leaf and peach, accompanied by a little vanilla. The palate is fresh, limpid, crisp, a little textured, and nicely rounded. Through the midpalate it develops a little creamy richness, whilst still displaying the delicious vibrant fruit acidity that makes this such good drinking on a hot summer (or spring) day. It even lingers a little on the finish, momentarily admittedly. What a complete, pleasing, well finished wine. All said this is very good indeed, and I will undoubtedly look out for future vintages of Pibarnon's rosé, and of the Tempier rosé also, for drinking this year, in the hope that we have many more such warm days yet to come. Is it the greatest rosé I have ever tasted, though? Well, certainly nothing here has changed my mind, but there are always new vintages to taste and enjoy in order to firm up this conclusion! 17/20 (16/4/07)