One of the nice things about keeping up with social media is that every now and again you discover some really exciting events happening around Provence.The sites I like to consult frequently for Provençal comings & goings are Visit Var, Provence Verte, and Fantastic Provence. And this past year saw a much-needed addition to the tourism resources offered online: Route des Vins de Provence.
Not only does their site provide information about upcoming events in the wine biz, but they’ve also mapped wine routes around Provence – online and off. If you tour anywhere around the region, you’re bound to find their distinctive purple signs helping guide you from one sunny vineyard to the next. So popular are these wine beacons in fact, that on one visit to the Bandol estate of Bunan, our hostess confided that they were having a hard time keeping their signs “intact”. People kept stealing them. (!?)
And it’s thanks to Route des Vins de Provence that we found out about an event celebrating the region’s most famous appellation: Bandol.
As any grower will tell you (or any good wine guide online!), the production of Bandol wine stretches back centuries but the official qualification of AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) under the French classification system is just reaching its 70th anniversaire.
This milestone will be celebrated by an exhibition of photos & historical documents which runs until December 31st – with a private showing, called a vernissage, taking place Wednesday, June 20th at the Oneothèque de Bandol.
For more information, or to daydream about taking your own wine tour of Provence, please visit the Route des Vins de Provence website.
Santé et a bientôt!
Oneothèque de Bandol
Place Lucien Artaud
Tel. : 04 94 29 45 03
Bandol is one of those dreamy seaside towns that’s easy to fall in love with. Located in the Var department (83), the name Bandol is also associated with the wine region containing over 50 different domaines – many scattered on either side of autoroute 50 & climbing the sweeping hills surrounding the villages of Le Castellet & La Cadière d’Azur.
While you can spend a very enjoyable day caravanning from one wine-tasting to another, visiting the city of Bandol is a far more glamorous experience. You’ll find the port packed with sizable yachts, the Casino de Bandol, and the chic boutiques lining the borde de mer among other glitzy addresses.
There’s not much that can be said about this stellar restaurant that could be any better than what we overhead our fellow diners exclaiming on Saturday afternoon: Qu’est-ce que c’est beau! (it’s so pretty) Wouaou! (the French wow) & C’est trop bon! (it’s so good).
If you’ve ever eaten in France, you know those are pretty big compliments coming from the French. And when French folks start whipping out their iPhones to take photos of the food, you know you’ve stumbled upon a hot spot. Not to mention there were 2 birthdays being celebrated around us… in a 7 table restaurant.
Our lunch was not exactly a meal but an all-out culinary experience. I do tend to be quite an enthusiastic person by nature, but I don’t post things lightly, and we certainly don’t pull any punches when the quality isn’t great (that’s living in France for ya). We both were left with the impression that this was one of the best meals either of us can remember having… ever.
It’s been a week of rain, rain, and more rain in the South of France. While we usually manage to escape all sorts of weather calamities, this wave of storms is particularly strong – evacuations, floods, and a classification of alert “orange” for our department (the Var) and 10 others.
So while we’re huddled-up at home, it seemed a good time to reminisce on drier, sunnier times. Namely, a sunny afternoon spent wine-tasting at Domaines Bunan just one week ago.
The Domaines Bunan (yes, there’s two of them) are situated about 15 minutes south of Toulon – one facing the other along the massif of Sainte-Baume (near the medieval village of Le Castellet).
Mostly known for its hearty red wines, the region of Bandol also produces smaller quantities of quality white & rosé.
“Today contained in the vast amphitheater of mountains formed by the massif of Sainte-Baume and Mount Caume, the vineyards of Bandol produce some of the most famous wines of France. Powerful and massive in their youth, they reveal, with aging, great finesse and elegance throughout.”
*Vins et Vinobles de France, 2008