Going from restaurant sommelier to vineyard owner happens in France. What a dream! Today’s case in point, Georges Delille working as a somm in Paris before purchasing a property of neglected vines in 1963, which would become Domaine de Terrebrune. Located in the town of Ollioules, which is east of Bandol by about six kilometers as the crow flies, the vineyard view south is to the Mediterranean Sea and north to a mountain that tops out at 1450 feet called Gros Cerveau (Big Brain).
In previous releases of the Les Marchands Wine Journal we have highlighted Bandol wines from big boys like Tempier, Gros ’Noré, and Pibarnon so you may recall that AOC designation for the region was established in 1941, with a focus on the Mourvèdre varietal. After that designation many established producers and newcomers spent years overhauling and reviving vineyards throughout the designated boundaries. When AOC status is granted, you better believe the world of French vignerons, both inside and outside the region, become eager to see what can be achieved.
Georges Delille followed that aggressive charge and spent ten years renovating his property by terracing the hillside vineyards, refashioning the masonry, replanting vines (under the guidance and advice of Lucien Peyraud of Domaine Tempier), but then allowing portions of his property to lie dormant so the soils could regenerate. After the gravity flow winemaking facilities and cellar were built in 1975, and his son Reynald finished his oenology studies, they released their first vintage in 1980, naming the label ‘Terrebrune’ in honor of the rich, brown soils of clay, marl, and limestone.
They currently farm 30 hectares of vines utilizing principles we find to be so appealing—organic viticulture with absolutely no chemical herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers, soil worked by plow and hand hoes, hand harvested, grapes sorted in the vineyard, natural fermentation through indigenous yeasts, bottled unfined and unfiltered. Yes Yes Yes!
Finally, if you ever decide to visit, they also run a restaurant on the property. Something tells me those food and wine pairings are spot on, every day.
• Fermentation lasts for 15-21 days in closed cuve
• Maceration by pump-over
• Wine ages in oak foudres for 18 months
• Aging potential: 30 years
Direct Rouge tasting notes from the domaine, translated from French
Constructed structure, tannins present, fond but not aggressive. Great persistence in the mouth. Aromas of black fruits (wild berries) mingle with licorice. Empyromatic notes (creosote, meaty, whiskey). Our young red wines are consumed with red meats or grilled fish.