Born on terraced hillsides called restanques above Cadières d’Azur, Domaine Bunan’s 2018 Moulin des Costes (70% Mourvèdre, 20% Cinsault, 10% Syrah) captures all of the warmth and savor of Provence. It’s also captured Gold medals at the prestigious Concours Général Agricole Paris and Millésime Bio. Brilliant and intense in color with deep ruby and purple highlights, the wine’s flamboyant aroma of black fruits, violet flowers, mint, and wild Mediterranean herbs beguiles the nose. In the mouth, Domaine Bunan’s highly structured 2018 Moulin des Costes Bandol graces the mouth with deep, rich berry fruit flavors, exotic spices, and wild herbs, affording immense palate appeal. Add deft touches of black pepper and fine wood from barrel ageing and we found this wine hard to resist. Although well-structured, the tannins in the 2018 Moulin des Costes come across as ripe and round, rendering the youthful 2018 Bunan Moulin des Costes Bandol ready to drink now with 30 minutes of aeration (and cooled to 58°-62° F), yet it is certainly capable of ageing further for up to a decade. Anticipated maturity: 2022-2028. Enjoy!
Like any self respecting red Bandol, Domaine Bunan’s 2018 Moulin des Costes is a full-bodied wine capable of warding off the chill of night. It is also a wine with a propensity to accompany traditional Provençal meals as well as the delights of a creative contemporary kitchen. Roast or smoked duck, grilled lamb, and the rich aubergine (eggplant) and cheese dishes of Provence provide outstanding accompaniments to Domaine Bunan’s 2018 Moulin des Costes Bandol. Lamb shanks with black olives and slow cooked rack of lamb with a red wine reduction pair especially well with this Bandol, too. Rich cheese pies and spicy penne pasta dishes with eggplant and hot Italian sausages in a thick tomato sauce also get our mouths watering in the company of this red Bandol. Goat cheeses, another Provençal specialty, provide additional outstanding partners to Domaine Bunan’s Bandol. Bon Appétit!
The tiny Bandol estate of Domaine Bunan attracted our attention nearly two decades ago with a succession of delicious red Bandol wines. Unfortunately, the domaine’s tiny production and limited export potential due to tremendous local demand have limited the wine’s availability for export. However, much cajoling and a visit several years ago to Bunan’s picturesque Moulin des Costes, whose terraced vineyards serviced the lords of nearby Chateau Le Castellet, have made Domaine Bunan’s exquisite red Moulin des Costes Bandol available to us. Yes, good things often come to those who are persistent and willing to make the pilgrimage. We have secured enough of Domaine Bunan’s 2018 Moulin des Costes Bandol Rouge (this month’s feature and the property’s most revered wine) to offer our members. Moreover, the 2018 Moulin des Costes Bandol Rouge from all certified organic estate grown grapes is unequivocally the most complex, hedonistic red Bandol wine we have ever tasted.
Brothers Paul and Pierre Bunan are men steeped in the rich wine-growing tradition of southern France and heirs to a tradition of authentic winemaking that they learned from their father and grandfather. In 1961, Paul and Pierre fell in love with Moulin des Costes and its terraced marl and sandstone hills above La Cadière d’Azur in the Bandol appellation, an exceptional and widely respected commune known for its outstanding red and rosé wines. Hence, the birth of Domaine Bunan.
Today, Domaine Bunan is a true family affair with all hands on deck. Paul’s son Laurent took over the direction of Moulin des Costes several years ago after completing his oenology and winemaking studies in California. Laurent presently directs export and development for Domaine Bunan. Laurent’s sister Françoise also works at the winery as head of communications, while Pierre’s daughter lends her talents to marketing and design. Younger brother Philippe has also joined the family as an agricultural engineer. With respect for the land and the family’s tradition of fashioning only authentic Bandol wines, the warm and welcoming Bunan family pride themselves on producing exceptional Bandol wines. We can also attest to never having had a finer meal in Provence than one we enjoyed with the Bunans at Moulin des Costes.
Despite the preeminence of its wines, Bandol and its highly acclaimed wines remain little known in the United States. Located along a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of Provençal coastline to the east of Marseille and the picturesque seaside town of Cassis, Bandol fashions some of the greatest red and rosé wines in all France from a variety of calcareous soils. From terraced hillsides in eight small communes around the seaside village of Bandol, the persnickety Mourvèdre grape variety not only thrives, it reigns supreme. In Bandol, under the warm Mediterranean sun, Mourvèdre ripens fully and consistently to form the backbone, heart and very soul of all red and rosé Bandol wines. Nowhere else in France does Mourvèdre command such attention. The late ripening Mourvèdre grape is the major varietal and essential ingredient in all of Bandol’s magical red and rosé wines, as Mourvèdre must account for at least 50% of any red or rosé wine made in Bandol. However, many producers can and will use more Mourvèdre in their Bandol with some Bandol offerings topping out at 95% Mourvèdre. Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah provide strong supporting roles in Bandol, as they serve to tame Mourvèvdre’s sometimes rambunctious personality, which includes an alluring array of deep black and red fruit aromas, spice and wild herb components along with a firm tannic backbone that guarantees longevity.
Although full-bodied red and rosé wines dominate Bandol’s production, small quantities of fine white wines from indigenous grape varieties such as Clairette, Bourboulenc and Ugni Blanc also emanate from Bandol. Typically, the region’s white grape varieties grow on hillsides with north facing slopes. They capture the freshness of the nearby sea and offer complex, amplifying aromas and flavors reminiscent of spring flowers, citrus, and an array of orchard fruits.
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