Monday, August 21, 2017

Bandol Wine Dinner at DBGB DC Kitchen and Bar, Washington DC

Pictures: Presenting the Domaine de la Bastide Blanche AOC Bandol Wines: Cason Love (Weygandt Wines), Ed Jenks (Weygandt Wines), Andrew Wooldridge (Head Sommelier DBGB DC) and Damien Lehaux (Opici Family Distributing)

In July 2017, I spent a week in the Provence in France with my wife Annette and son Benjamin with his children Lorelei and Otto; Oskar, our German Shepard, also came along. Our base was in LaCiotat, which is between Cassis and Bandol. I wrote about it here:

Wining and Dining in the Provence, France, 2017

Back in Washington DC, I was delighted to receive an invitation for a dinner at Daniel Boulud's DBGB DC Kitchen and Bar with the wines of one of Bandol's premier producer, Domaine de la Bastide Blanche.

Picture: Daniel Boulud's DBGB DC Kitchen and Bar


On Thursday, August 10th, starting at 7:00pm join Weygandt Wines & Sommelier Andrew Wooldridge at DBGB DC for a Provençal Wine Dinner featuring wines from the Peter Weygandt portfolio.

Guests at this special event will be treated to a reception featuring a delicious Rosé from a newcomer to the Weygandt Wines portfolio, Clos de l'Ours, followed by an elegant four-course dinner, complete with wine pairings featuring the bold, flavorful Bandol wines of our own, Domaine La Bastide Blanche.

US$95 plus tax and tip.

Pictures: Bandol Wine Dinner at DBGB DC Kitchen and Bar

The Wines of the Provence

Wine has been made in the Provence for over 2600 years, making Provence the oldest wine producing region of France. It is also the only French wine region to focus on Rosé. Two thirds of the wines from the Provence are Rosé.

Picture: Provence AOC (Wine Folly)

(Source: wikipedia): Provence is the oldest wine producing region of France. The wines of Provence were probably introduced into Provence around 600 BC by the Greek Phoceans who founded Marseille and Nice. After the Roman occupation, in 120 BC the Roman Senate forbade the growing of vines and olives in Provence, to protect the profitable trade in exporting Italian wines, but in the late Roman empire retired soldiers from Roman Legions settled in Provence and were allowed to grow grapes.

Provence is also the only French wine region that predominantly produces rosé wines. The most characteristic grape is mourvèdre, used most famously in the red wines of Bandol. Cassis is the only area in Provence known for its white wines.

The wines of Provence are grown under demanding conditions; hot weather and abundant sunshine (Toulon, near Bandol, has the most sunshine of any city in France) which ripens the grapes quickly; little rain, and the mistral.

Picture: Rosé Wines Account for 80% of the Wines of the Provence. Here: Carrefour in La Ciotat.

The AOCs of the Provence

AOC Côtes de Provence is the largest AOC ihe Provence, accounting for about 75% of the total. The appellation covers 20,300 hectares. 80 percent of the production is rosé wine.

Second in size, the AOC Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence was classified as an AOC in 1985. There are 4000 hectares in production. 70 percent of the wines are rosés.

The AOC Coteaux Varois en Provence is a recent AOC in Provence (1993). 2200 hectares. 80 percent rosés.

AOC Bandol AOC is produced by 8 communes with silicon & limestone soils. Those soils and the warm, coastal climate are ideally suited for the late ripening Mourvèdre grape, which is the major variety. For both the red and rosé wines, Mourvèdre must account for at least 50% of the blend, though most producers will use significantly more, with Grenache and Cinsaut usually completing the composition. Syrah and Carignan are restricted in Bandol to a maximum of 15% of the blend or 10% individually.

Nearly 70% of the production is red wine with rosé and a small amount of white wine making up the remainder. Red Bandol wine is characterized by its dark color with rich flavors of black fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and leather.

Bandol is the only French wine that is dominated by the Mourvèdre grape, which expresses differently depending on the particular terroir of the region. The soils in the northwest region, from the communes of Évenos to Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, are composed of small pebbles and produce lighter, more delicate wines. On the red clay that is scattered throughout the region, the wine produced is very tannic and must be tempered with increased blending of Cinsaut and Grenache. The Grenache grape itself is typically planted on cooler north facing slopes to prevent the grape from over ripening and making the wine highly alcoholic. The relative infertility of the soil throughout the region helps to keep yields low with the Bandol region having some of the lowest yields in France. The use of mechanical harvesting is impractical due to the style of terracing used on the hillsides and is prohibited by the rules of the AOC.

Pictures: AOC Bandol

AOC Cassis was the first wine in Provence to be classified as an AOC in 1936, and is best known for its white wines.

AOC Bellet - At the time of the French Revolution, the little town of Saint Roman de Bellet (now part of Nice) was the center of an important wine region. Today the region is one of the smallest in France; just 47 hectares.

AOC Palette Palete is a little village 4 kilometres east of Aix-en-Provence.

AOC Les Baux de Provence was established as an AOC for red and rosé wines in 1995.

The Grape Varieties in the Provence

(winerist): The key grape variety for reds and roses in Provence is Mourvèdre, also known as Monastrell. Mourvèdre is typically high in alcohol, high in tannins and has typical aromas of dark berries. Mourvèdre is often blended with Grenache and Cinsault. Bandol, is the most famous appellation for powerful, gamey red made from Mourvèdre.

Grenache, originally from Spain, provides greater body and fullness to red wines. Cinsault - native to Provence is fresh and subtle, is an important component in most rosé wines and the grapes can be enjoyed as raw fruit too. Tibouren, a grape with a full bouquet, is also perfect for blending in red wines with other locally derived grapes.

Carignan has been a major grape for the last century in Provence blends. This variety has diminished somewhat but is still used to provide full bodied brightly coloured wines. Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are becoming more popular due to increased global popularity, though some winemakers are being more cautious with these grapes. They provide strong tannins and spicy flavours to the wines. Other prominent grape varieties for reds and roses are are Braquet, Folle, Cinsault, Counoise, Muscardin, Terret Noir and Vaccarèse.

Of the white varieties, Rolle (Vermentino) is grown widely in Provence, a very hardy grape boasting pear and citrus aromas. It is full bodied and very smooth. Clairette, ancient and aromatic this oddly shaped grape is a rare delight. Ugni Blanc is clear and fruity, for an elegant glass. Semillion is used in small amounts for a strong floral and honey bouquet.

The major white wine grapes of Provence often feature Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne, Spagnol, Mayorquin, Pignero, Picpoul and Muscat. Some of the most compelling white wines of Provence are made in Cassis, but these rarely make it outside the country due to high local demand.


(Lonely Planet): Bandol’s old fishing-port charm has long since been swallowed up by its high-rise seaside apartment blocks, but the plentiful restaurants, cheap-and-cheerful shops and copious beach facilities make it a favourite for holidaymakers from nearby Toulon and Marseille. For everyone else, it’s probably best for a quick lunch stop or a spot of wine tasting rather than an overnight stay.

Pictures: Dinner in Bandol. See: Wining and Dining in the Provence, France, 2017

Daniel Boulud

Daniel Boulud is a French chef and restaurateur with restaurants in New York City, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Palm Beach, Miami, Montreal, Toronto, London, Singapore, and Boston. He is best known for Daniel, his eponymous, Michelin 2-star restaurant in New York City.

While raised on a farm outside of Lyon and trained by renowned French chefs, Boulud made his reputation in New York, first as a chef and most recently a restaurateur. His restaurants include Daniel, DB Brasserie, Café Boulud, DB Bistro Moderne, Bar Boulud, DBGB Kitchen & Bar, and Boulud Sud in New York City.

Pictures: Chef Daniel Boulud and Andrew Wooldridge, DBGB DC Head Sommelier. See: Dinner at Chef Daniel Boulud's DBGB DC with the Wines of Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles and Château de Beaucastel in the Rhone Valley, USA/ France

Andrew Wooldridge, Head Sommelier

Raised in Colorado and educated in Texas, Andrew Wooldridge initially studied entrepreneurship and international business before pursuing a culinary education at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. Upon his return to the United States, he began working as a chef at a winery.

For a time, Andrew Wooldridge shifted to the world of advertising and even earned a Masters in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Throughout that time, his exposure to wine was simmering under the surface, so he headed west to pursue wine classes at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus. By the time he moved to D.C. in 2014, he had keenly honed his taste buds. Before joining DBGB DC as Head Sommelier, Andrew Wooldridge opened the buzzy French bistro Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown and worked at The Inn at Little Washington.

Bandol Wine Dinner at DBGB DC


Domaine Clos de L'Ours, Milia, Rosé, 2016

Domaine Clos de L'Ours is a newcomer to the Weygandt Wines portfolio.

In 2012 the Brotons family made a life-changing decision to realize their dream: After selling everything, they bought the Clos de l'Ours. The family now wishes to share their wine passion and make Clos de l'Ours a hedonistic lair. That's why they have opened six charming guest rooms overlooking the estate. The vineyard has been organic since 2000. 32 acres. AOC Côtes de Provence.

Domaine de la Bastide Blanche, Bandol

In the early '70s Michel and Louis Bronzo (the latter on the board of the INAO) acquired the property of the Bastide Blanche, with an eye to producing from appellation Bandol wines the equal of more famous appellations like Châteauneuf. Their painstaking efforts were rewarded in 1993 when vintage conditions created the benchmark year to put Bandol in general and Bastide-Blanche, in particular, on the map of top producers in France.

They have various cuvées, depending on the vintage, but always about 75% Mourvèdre as a minimum, up to 100% Mourvèdre for the Cuvée Fontanieu from a parcel of that name near the Mediterranean. Also, common each year to their success are their very low yields, never more than 34 or 35 hl/ha, and simply impeccable cellar conditions and attention. This shows in the pure, well-delineated fruit, that has become a hallmark of Bastide-Blanche. They also make a delightful Rose, from predominantly Mourvèdre, with Grenache and Cinsault.


Citrus Marinated Maryland Fluke
compressed melon, lemon verbena, tapioca, borage

Domaine de la Bastide Blanche, Bandol, Blanc, 2015

Monkfish and Lobster Bourride
summer vegetables mosaic, garlic crouton, chive blossom

Domaine de la Bastide Blanche, Bandol, Rosé, 2016

Pennsylvania Lamb Duo
braised shank, roasted loin, fairytale eggplant, red pepper,
fennel polenta, rosemary-smoked garlic jus

Domaine de la Bastide Blanche, Bandol, Cuvée Estagnol, 2013
Domaine de la Bastide Blanche, Bandol, Cuvée Fontaneou, 2013

Coupole Goat Cheese
summer truffle, hazelnut butter toast



Sommelier Andrew Wooldridge Winemaker Dinner Series at Daniel Boulud's DBGB DC

This dinner was part of Sommelier Andrew Wooldridge Winemaker Dinner Series at Daniel Boulud's DBGB DC. See also:

Dinner at Chef Daniel Boulud's DBGB DC with the Wines of Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles and Château de Beaucastel in the Rhone Valley, USA/ France

Franck Pascal Biodynamic Champagne Dinner at Daniel Boulud's DBGB Kitchen and Bar in Washington DC, USA/ France

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