It has been a long time love affair with Bandol for me, dating back to the 80s when I first learned of the region and the amazingly complex wines that come from the area at the western end of the Cote d'Azur. After Bandol you get to Cassis and Marseille. There, the regions are surrounded by the Cotes de Provence and the Coteaux de Aix en Provence.
In Bandol everyone knows about Domaine Tempier, but after a few visits to the region, especially over the last few years, my appreciation as gone from their eternal reds to really becoming a fan of the Rose wines too. Chateau Vannieres, Chateau Pibernon, Bastide Blanche, Gros Nore', La Tour du Bon and Chateau Pradeaux are all producing sensational wines but when you taste the Rose wines you realize that as much love and care goes into the pink wines as goes into their red wines.
The 2015 Chateau Pradeaux is giving the Chateau Vannieres I recently had a run for the money as the Rose of the year for me from Bandol, The Pradeaux is a blend of Cinsault and Mourvedre and just a few tads darker than the Vannieres in color. The flavor is big and bold, spicy and rich as Rose's go, but not sweet. It has the right amount of dryness and is a wine that is a food wine, not a light aperitif and while you could and would drink it by the pool, it would be a waste just to drink it by itself. The wine shows more raspberry than strawberry, due to the absence of any Grenache, but even without it, the fruity from the Mourvedre and Cinsault that is gently extracted during the period of skin contact, makes this wine a stunning winner.
But Pradeaux is not limited to just the Bandol Rose. The also make a delightful, bone dry Cotes de Provence Rose and the 2015 Le Cotes de Provence de Chateau Pradeaux is in my mind another of the great Rose's of the vintage. Made from three grapes, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Barbaroux (whatever that is) comes a real Provence Rose that has just a bit of Bandol rolled in. That means beyond the usual bone dry crispness comes something more. Think morning salt air as you walk by the beach. Crisp peach flavor that has been freeze dried at the peak of freshness. The wine is smooth, not angular like poorly made Rose wines, and what's more, clearly is better made than the wine of Ott or Minuty who get all the big press but fail to deliver as much as the Pradeaux.