Domaine Tempier is a piece of southern France history. The winery is responsible for taking a tiny, seaport village called Bandol and turning it into the most relevant region in Provence for red and rosé wines. They are the sole reason why the noble Mourvedre grape is mandated as the dominant varietal of the appellation. On the day the farm was acquired in 1834, the Tempier family made an active commitment to honoring their terroir and have not looked back since.
Endowed with limestone and clay soils, the hallmarks of Tempier are soulful wines that are built to age. Kermit Lynch has the famous line, “Their story might be considered mythic if it were not true.”
Lucie “Lulu” Tempier married Lucien Peyraud in 1936. Their gift from the Tempier family on their wedding day, the family domaine, built in 1834. For Lucien it was a dream come true, having a deep desire to be a winemaker but born into a family of gunsmiths and silk merchants. Not only did he receive vineyards, he gained access to pre-phylloxera vintages in the cellar which ignited his belief in how the Mourvedre grape excelled in the terroir of this seaside Bandol region.
Pause for a moment though because if you are envisioning a glorified and privileged lifestyle, think again…the reality was a challenging endeavor. Living by candlelight, pumping water from a well, and commuting 26 miles round trip on bicycle to Toulon for meetings as chairman of the newly formed Bandol AOC winegrowers syndicate. Lucien immersed himself into the community to say the least.
It was Lucien’s tireless dedication to campaigning that increased the awareness for the Mourvedre based wines of Bandol to be recognized as one of France’s finest vins de garde, alongside the likes of Cabernet and Merlot in Bordeaux, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy, Grenache in Châteauneuf du Pape, and Syrah in Hermitage/Côte Rotie. Yes, this domaine has a story that defined a region—with a continuing history that passes forward into every subsequent vintage.La Cabassaou, with 50+ year old vines, this parcel is the smallest of the three vineyards (1.5 hectares) and sits lower on the hillside which provides protection from the powerful regional winds. With that, the vines benefit from temperate breezes and maximum sunshine. Ripeness, density and power are the hallmark of La Cabassaou.