Chateau Croix d'Allons, Bandol - The Oak Barrel Imports

Chateau Croix d'Allons, Bandol - The Oak Barrel Imports

26th May 2021
- Paul Downie -

It was in 1924 that the great-grandparents of Philippe Damiano, Peter and Maria, acquired the various plots of the estate from the Salesian Fathers of Don Bosco. The ruins of their first cellar are still on the property. New vines were planted by Pierre, who vinified directly on the family farm. In the original building there are still the old fermentation and settling tanks, as well as the barrels. 

The Estate now covers approximately 7 hectares. Philippe Damiano is part of the fourth generation who works these lands. First used in market gardening, they have gradually been converted into vineyards. The lands are all located on rare and very ancient geological formations of the Triassic (limestone, dolomite, gypsum and cargneule), giving the vines their exceptional character. On these plots, are found the preferred grape variety for Bandol Wines: Mourvèdre, representing 70% of the plantations.

Philippe and Florence have chosen to offer a single cuvée in Bandol AOP, per vintage and per colour. In 2017, they wished to affix, on their reasoned work practices, a label in Organic Agriculture, certified ECOCERT (from August 2020).

The Oak Barrel is proud to represent these fine wines in Australia.

Chateau Croix d'Allons Bandol Rose 2019
$49.95 each or $44.96 in any 6

Mourvèdre 60% Cinsault 20% Grenache 20%. Not your subtle Provencale Rosé. The floral aromas give way to tropical fruits such as pineapple along with rose water. The Mourvedre imparts a fullness of flavour with hints of sweet fruit as well as breadth of palate. It's full bodied and structured with Mediterranean herbs, ripe dark berries, and a touch of garrigue on the finish. The elegant yet pronounced tannins give this wine an exceptional finish.

This rosé is a great food wine and will accompany many fuller flavoured and bold dishes. A stunning example of Bandol rose that sits among the very best.

Chateau Croix d'Allons Bandol Rouge 2018
$77.95 each or $70.16 in any 6

90% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache. This is certainly a wine that unravels in the glass, the initial nose shows bold cassis, blackberry and fresh herb along with notes of tobacco, leather, vanillin, and baking spice. As it unwinds this wine journeys into rustic cherry skin, cured meats, and gamey characters balanced out the rich, bold fruit. The fresh, fine tannins round out the pronounced flavours without making the wine feel heavy.

An ideal cool weather wine, this complements a variety of dishes well, including roasted meats and vegetables, rich, saucy pastas, and adventurous cheeseboards also. 

About Bandol

The Bandol vineyards are a jewel in the Provencal wine region. This unique geological area where the vineyards descends in terraces towards the sea in a magnificent natural amphitheatre of wooded hills. Bandol is a fishing village is at the centre sheltered by the massif of Sainte Baume to the North protecting the vines from Mistral, a cold dry northly wind which can sometimes reach 90km per hour.

In the 6th century B.C., the Phocaeans landed on the shore of Provence, in a place where they later founded their colony of Torroeis. Along with their amphoras, they brought the civilization of vine and wine. The Romans continued their winemaking traditions with the Bandol vineyard acreage reaching its highest point around 1870. So Bandol could be the oldest wine making region in France.The vines were destroyed by the phylloxera epidemic that swept through most of Europe and centuries of hard work were ruined. To restore the vineyard, the wine growers chose the grape varieties best suited to the terroir, giving preference to those that were traditionally grown in the area. In particular, the Mourvèdre – the “King Grape” of Bandol – made a revival and perpetuation of vine growing possible in this region.

The Bandol vineyard area now covers approximately 1,500 hectares. Generations of wine growers had to shape the hillsides to make them suitable for vine cultivation and these terraced slopes are the result of their perseverance. The Bandol amphitheatre faces due south to the sea and benefits from nearly 3,000 hours of sun exposure a year. At its feet, the Mediterranean protects the vineyard from extreme temperatures while on the heights, the pine and oak forests covering the hills block the cold northerly winds. In the shelter of this natural amphitheatre, dotted with olive and almond trees, the vineyard enjoys a micro-climate where sea and in-land breezes provide just the right balance of aeration and rain. The moderated Mistral wind ensures a perfectly healthy climate is maintained, even after heavy rains.

Bandol is a resolutely red wine, mainly produced from the Mourvèdre variety, known as the king of the appellation. Mourvèdre is the chief grape variety in the blend (50% to 95%). It is harmoniously combined with Grenache and Cinsault, the former bringing generosity to the wine, the latter giving it refinement. Powerful, with natural distinction and great character, Bandol red wines, however diverse they may be, all have in common the specific character of Mourvèdre. Bandol red is the spearhead of the AOC. It expresses its true nature in gorgeous aromas of Havana, leather and undergrowth that blossom on a mineral background, and shows even more complex notes with the subtlety of each vintage. In its youth it reveals aromas of liquorice, black fruits, violet, empyreumatic notes...

Then, as it ages, it develops the aromas and flavours of red fruits, jam, Morello cherry, spices, undergrowth, leather, truffle. After a minimum of 18 months’ ageing in wood, the tannic character of Mourvèdre will endow it with a complex, ample and elegant structure. Although it is the perfect type of wine for cellaring, one can also enjoy it in all the strength and generosity of youth: that is the paradoxical nature of Bandol red wine. It delivers some part of its enormous potential at every stage of its evolution. For those who can bide their time, a 10, 20 or 25-year-old Bandol will bring all kinds of delight.

Bandol rosés are enchanting. Their roundness and generosity make them different from other rosé wines. Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault combine to give, by direct pressing, a well-structured, refined, pale-coloured wine with delicate salmon hues. With all the subtle shades that enhance their colour, they voluptuously express the specificity of their terroir. They are to be drunk in their youth and their great freshness seduces; however, the presence of Mourvèdre brings out their typicity and encourages laying them down, as is the rule for red wines Long-lived rosés acquire exceptional temperament and flavours, and are therefore served at the most renowned tables. Such wines arouse enthusiasm. Their complexity allows a great variety in food pairings.

To penetrate the secret of Bandol, one must also taste its white wines. The wine-growers take delight in surprising wine lovers with this type of wine, produced in very low quantities. Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Bourboulenc are the base of the varietal mix. Made from grapes often growing on hillsides facing north, invigorated by the sea breeze that heightens their freshness, Bandol whites have a clean attack followed by a complex harmony of aromas (white flowers, citrus fruits, exotic fruits or fruits from the orchard…)