“Having understood perfectly the soul of this exceptional terroir, Henri de Saint-Victor completely remade Chateau de Pibarnon and in doing so created a grand classic in Bandol, with a profundity and balance without equal in Provence….” Bettane and Desseauve, Classification of the Best Wines of France, 2003
“The rose is unfailingly one of the most savory in Provence. The red is robust when young but develops a range of subtle, typically Mediterranean aromas, together with very fine tanninsthat places it amongst the greatest of all the French wines.” Bettane and Desseauve’s Guide to the Greatest Wine of France 2011
The vineyards of Chateau de Pibarnon create a natural amphitheatre, sitting atop La Colline du Télégraphe at a height of 300m, staring directly out at the sparkling Mediterranean bay of La Ciotat. This is one of the few terroirs that can ripen and sculpt the surly Mourvèdre into the kind of fine, supple and fragrant wine that Pibarnon is famous for. While the photograph doesn’t really do the natural beauty of the Pibarnon vineyard justice, there is plenty of beauty to be found in the glass of any of the wines below. Open a bottle and you are as good as in Provence. These wines simply couldn’t come from anywhere else.
We’re not entirely sure who coined the phrase ‘The Petrus of Bandol’, but it does give you an idea of the high reputation this Estate holds amongst its peers. The brutish, muscular and tannic norm of many Bandols gives way here to a perfumed, refined and altogether more elegant manifestation. In this storied region, Pibarnon rouge has something of a cult following and counts the leading French wine critics amongst its passionate admirers. It’s not easy to pinpoint exactly what makes this particular Bandol, made by Eric de Saint Victor, so distinctive. There are many factors. There’s the lofty elevation of the Pibarnon vineyard, which allows for a longer, slow ripening period, and there is the unique, ancient fossil-rich limestone, clay and blue marl soils that bring a seamless web of tannins into play. The high level of Mourvèdre is another major difference, with most Bandol reds having much more Grenache in the blends. Whatever the reasons, this is a ravishing, unique wine and should be counted among the very best in Southern France.
If Pibarnon’s Bandol Rouge isn’t rare enough, its Blanc is positively the Yeti of Mediterranean whites. Bandol’s whites remain scarce even in Provence, where they are snapped up by the local restaurants and cafes and used to wash down the plethora of fresh seafood on offer. Finally, in a part of France known for dry, complex Rosé, Bandol is king. We believe that Pibarnon’s Mourvèdre based Rosé is, along with Tempier, one of the very finest expressions of this unique style.