Windows on Provence
Bandol is one of the most picturesque wine regions in France, located next to the Mediterranean along the coast between Toulon and Marseille (and only 10 minutes’ drive from Sanary).
The red wines are among the most fashionable in France, found on the wine lists of most Michelin restaurants, but for some reason are rarely found abroad. As well as reds, Bandol also produces some fantastic rosé wines, easy on the palate, and an ideal tipple in the summer heat.
There’s nothing quite like sipping a glass of crisp rosé and nibbling on olives whilst you sit in a harbour café watching the world go by. There are numerous wine producers in the Bandol/Sanary area, and it’s possible to drop in for a “dégustation” at almost all of them. My two favourite producers are Domaine Le Galantin and the better known Domaine Tempier. To visit Le Galantin you need to head out of Bandol on the road to Le Castellet – there’s a sign and turning on the right just as you get into Le Plan du Castellet. There are directions to Domaine Tempier on their website www.domainetempier.com.
The annual Bandol wine festival is held on the first Sunday in December and is definitely worth a visit. You pay a few euros to buy a glass and then work your way around the various producers, tasting reds and rosés as you go. Luckily, there are interesting food stalls around to make sure you don’t have to drink on an empty stomach!