Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Red Wine with Chili? Bandol

Bandol Red Wine with Chili? La Bastide Blanche Bandol 2016

On the day of our first measurable snowfall in Chicago, the latest date of such in history, Linda made Chili for dinner. Friend and sorority Sister Pat R was over and the ladies asked for some wine. Wine? With Chili? Okay, why not? 

After thinking about it, I was going for something bold and expressive enough to stand up to the chili, but not such to offset or overpower it. I write often in these pages about the importance and benefit of properly pairing wine with food - doing it properly can amplify the pleasure of both, or the opposite effect if not done so correctly.

I initially thought of a hearty fruit filled Zinfandel or Shiraz/Syrah, but in the end, opted for something that would be a good balance between acidity and tannin content, medium to full-bodied. I selected this Bandol from the south of France. Bandol is a small village just to the west of Toulon.

 We drove through the Provence-Côte d'Azur region in the south of France as we followed the coast, returning from a day trip to St Tropez, returning via Marseille enroute back to Aix-en-Provence, when we visited the region. We also toured the Southern Rhone Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation and several wine producers during that trip, two years ago. 

This proved to be a suitable and appropriate complement to the chili, however, I would not promote this combination for a fine wine dining experience. There are many better combinations for wine and food enjoyment. 

La Bastide Blanche Bandol 2016

This is an Appellation Bandol Controlee designated label, a Mourvèdre based blend.  This was a blend of 78% Mourvèdre, 16% Grenache, 4% Cinsault and 2% Syrah. This is a great example and showcase vintage label for this region and style of wine - perhaps a bit darker, bigger, more concentrated, tighter and more complex than typical years. 

This was rated 95 points by Jeb Dunnuck, and 91 points by Joe Czerwinski of The Wine Advocate.  

Dunnuck noted the vintage, that "with the Southern Rhône Valley, Bandol appears to have had a banner year in 2016", This is brilliant Bandol!" 

At sub $30, this is another high QPR (quality price ratio) offering. Interesting that several other Bandol labels that sold out and out of stock at Binny's were priced at $40, $47, $75 and $99!

Dark blackish garnet colored, full bodied, big dense and concentrated black berry and plum fruits with some gamey notes, pepper, glycerin, dusty earth and garrigue herbs turning to gripping tannins on the lengthy finish. 

I wrote earlier this yer that this likely will improve further and be more approachable and perhaps more integrated in five years and be suitable for another decade. I have a couple more bottles that will be fun to compare in five and then ten years time. 

RM 90 points.