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Domaine de la Tour du Bon

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Press:
RVF Meilleurs Vins de France: “Regularly one of the unmissable wines of the Appellation”
Region:
Provence, France
Founded:
1920’s
Owner / Winemaker:
Agnes Henry
Size, Total Production:
12 ha, 50,000 bottles
Climate:
Dry, Mediterranean with cooling sea breezes and humidity
Soils:
Limestone and clay, much stony topsoil
Grapes:
Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan, Rolle, Clairette, Ugni Blanc
Organic Status:
Biodynamic
About:
Tour du Bon was one of my first ports of call in Bandol when I first visited seriously while studying wine in 1997, along with Tempier and Terrebrune. Agnes Henry was then, as now, relaxed, warm, charming, in tune with her beautiful environment. Her parents bought this old estate in 1968, and the previous owners had made wine here since 1925. Agnes took over in 1990 and for many years hired a winemaker to work with her, at first, the young and now well-known Loire producer Thierry Puzelat, and then a local. Since 2007, she has made the wine on her own and the wine has got even better as it reflects Agnes 100%. Dazzlingly rich, seductive fruit masks a firm structural core!

The estate enjoys a beautiful setting a few kilometres back from the Mediterranean sea at 150 metres altitude in a single holding, with stunning views around 360o to the sea and the hills behind. Tour du Bon means Tower of Good, for there was a local watchtower sited here to protect the local village. I can well believe it for a sense of harmony and peace pervades the air.

Agnes has always worked the vines organically and now also quasi-biodynamically. The soils are ancient, predominantly clay limestone, with part red clay and part white limestone and sand. The climate is gentle with usually 300 days of dazzling, luminous sunshine, gentle sea breezes and low rainfall. While perfect for strong flavoured and structured Mourvèdre, Agnes blends in more Grenache than usual in Bandol for a softer finish, more accessible earlier in its life, but not without ability to age.

In the cellar, Agnes does as little as possible. Grape bunches are destemmed, otherwise the wine is made traditionally in concrete tank and aged in large foudre, a mix of old and sometimes new. The resultant wines are well structured and faithful to the Appellation but which substitute the toughness of old-fashioned Bandol for a silkier, more luscious, fresher style, that’s expressive of all the elements of the local soil and environment. A small amount of fabulous white and rosé are also produced.

Wines from Tour du Bon

Tour du Bon Bandol Blanc 2013

Clairette 60%, Rolle 30%, Ugni Blanc 10%
Agnes Henry has long made richly flavoured, energetic, savoury, organic Bandol, some of the best, most characterful in the Appellation, and in all 3 colours. 20 years ago she employed and gave a start to one Thierry Puzelat, no less! [more] This Blanc, like the Rosé, always tastes better in its second year in bottle, having gained complexity and "settled down". It's a Goddess wine, richly fruit and savoury and uplifting and refreshing. Despite its richness, it boasts just 12.6% alcohol and is a terrific mariage with salads, all kinds of fishes and picnics.
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Retail Price: ¥4,860
Availability: Sold Out
Organic

Tour du Bon Bandol Rosé 2013

Mourvèdre 60%, Grenache, Cinsault
Agnes Henry has long made richly flavoured, energetic, savoury, organic Bandol, some of the best, most characterful in the Appellation, and in all 3 colours. 20 years ago she employed and gave a start to one Thierry Puzelat, no less! [more] This Rosé always tastes better in its second year in bottle, having rounded out, it recalls both the neighbouring seaside and the wild scrub of the local hills. It boasts just 13% alcohol and is a terrific mariage with salad meats, all kinds of fishes and picnics.
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Retail Price: ¥4,320
Availability: Sold Out
Organic

Tour du Bon Bandol 2010

Mourvèdre 55%, Grenache 35%, Cinsault 10%
Rich yet gentle. Soft on outside, with strong heart. Woman winemaker! Organic old vines. Beautiful terroir. Traditional, natural wine-making. Aged in large foudres.
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Retail Price: ¥5,400
Availability: Sold Out
Organic