Grower: Domaine de la Tour du Bon
Region: Bandol, Provence, France
Grape Varieties: Mourvedre, Cinsault, Syrah
Viticulture: Organic, Biodynamic
Size: 750 ml bottle
Tour du Bon was owned by the Mauric family previously and it was a polyculture farm with pigs, bees, vines, olives, and figs. 1955 was the first vintage bottled under the Tour du Bon label. It shows the distinctive forest in the center of the vineyard and it inspired today’s label.
Agnès Henry is the current winemaker and owner of Domaine de la Tour du Bon. She was born and raised in Paris. Her parents fell in love with Domaine de la Tour du Bon and bought the estate in 1968. There were some vines planted, but they spent the next two years digging into the rocky earth and planting more vines. In the late 1980’s, her family was considering selling the property and in 1990, Agnes decided that she would move south, into the house that had been her family vacation home her whole life.
The landscape is idyllic; the house and winery are on the top of a hill with a birds-eye view to the Mediterranean Sea, visible in the distance on a clear day. Seventeen hectares surround the winery, of which 12 hectares are planted to vines. There are still patches of untouched pine forest and trees and natural brush surrounding the vines. The terroir here is a clay-limestone mix with a red subsoil. With abundant sunshine and very little rain, this is the hottest area in the appellation.
In her 30 plus years of making wine, Agnes has embraced organic agriculture and she has worked with biodynamic treatments since 2018. Agnes likes the fact that she is secluded on the top of the hill. It allows her to truly be in touch with nature and to shut out the noise of everyday life. In the cellar, she named her foudres after philosophers and writers – Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and others. Her aim is to produce wines that have all of the power of Bandol, but with plenty of finesse, and pure, elegant fruit, built to evolve and age in the bottle. The grapes naturally have power, tannins, and grip, but Agnes believes that by focusing on fruit, the result is a singular expression of Bandol and her unique terroir– wines that are pure and without artifice.
Fermentations take place in open top cement vats and normally last about three weeks; she pumps over occasionally to get oxygen to the yeasts. Following Bandol’s requirements, the reds are aged in wood (a mix of foudres and barrels) for a minimum of eighteen months. The wines are not fined or filtered. Domaine de la Tour du Bon wines are traditional and unmanipulated, offering a pure and unique expression of Bandol.
Tour du Bon’s flagship wine, what Agnés calls “the blood of the earth” ; a blend of 55% Mourvedre, 25% Cinsault, and 20% Syrah. Aged for 18 months in large foudres. 2020 was a great vintage, with a bounty of water in the Spring.