I often mention Tom a local wine importer who looks at each of our menus and helps us pair our food with wines from his fabulous cellar of small vineyard, primarily European wines. Last Friday night we served a dish of Whitmore Farms Lamb Chop, Leg and Sausage with Basil Mashed Potatoes, Braised Cipolline Onion and Chard from our backyard...with Chateau Pradeaux Bandol Rouge 2003...the pairing was memorable.
More about the wine from Rosenthal the exporter of this Bandol...
There is the appellation of Bandol with its plethora of producers, some good, some mediocre; and then there is Chateau Pradeaux, the unique, inimitable, standard bearer for this ancient wine-growing district. The Chateau Pradeaux is situated on the outskirts of the town of St. Cyr Sur Mer which lies directly on the Mediterranean Ocean between Toulon and Marseilles. The estate is owned by the Portalis family which has owned this property since before the French Revolution. The domaine is currently under the direction of Cyrille Portalis, who continues to maintain the great traditions of this estate.
The vineyards are cultivated in as natural a manner as possible with reliance on organic methods. In fact, during the spring months sheep are permitted to graze in the vineyards thereby eliminating any need to use herbicides and at the same time providing a natural compost.
The wines of Pradeaux are brooding and difficult. Produced on the back of the noble Mourvedre, Pradeaux in its youthful stages is tannic, backward, and sometimes ornery. The wines are not destemmed; "elevage" in large oak foudres can last as long as four years; the essential blend is at least 95% Mourvedre; vines of less than 25 years of age are not used for the reds.