In a nutshell: A silky smooth, organic red from Bandol in the heart of Provence.
The lowdown: While much of Provence is given over to rosé the small appellation of Bandol within it is the home of probably the most serious wines of the region. Mourvèdre forms the backbone of the wine which has a quite dizzying complexity on the nose where plump bramble and cassis notes mix up with earthy spice and sage. On the palate it's silky smooth with the fruitiness following through nicely with black pepper and soft spice flavours chipping in as well.
When to drink: It's a great example of a Mourvèdre dominated wine and quite versatile when matching to food. Try with meatballs tomato sauce, through to prime rare beef or even things like mushroom risotto.
Domaine Lafran-Veyrolles is a Provençal estate with a superb terroir and is widely recognised as one of the top producers in the Bandol appellation. Jean-Marie Castell runs this small, traditional estate with just 10ha of vines on the famous red clay soil of Bandol. The estate is nestled in the protective hillsides of the Cadière d'Azur and benefits from a maritime climate which helps protect it from the excessive heat sometimes experienced on the French Riviera.
The domaine works with minimal intervention as a watchword. They aim for extremely low yields, practice organic viticulture and natural winemaking including very limited sulphur dioxide in their winemaking. Jean-Marie Castell manages the vineyards and winery where the once rustic facilities have, in recent years, been updated with modern temperature controlled systems.