Domaine Tempier is the most acclaimed producer in the Bandol appellation, in Provence, near the Mediterranean Sea. The domaine dates from the 18th century and its wines were winning gold medals by the mid-19th century. Lucien Peyraud married Lucie Tempier in 1934 and the young couple inherited Domaine Tempier from Lucie’s father. Lucien took charge of the domain and spent the rest of his life making his wines the gold standard for the region, as well as energetically advocating to raise Bandol’s reputation throughout France and Europe. The Peyraud family still owns and operates the domaine, which produces about 11,000 cases of organically made wine a year. The influential California importer Kermit Lynch has championed Tempier’s wines for decades, and the domain’s classic reds are blends of Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. White and rose wines are also produced.
Provence is the region on the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France known for sun-drenched Lavender fields and an easy-going, gracious attitude toward life. Until the last few decades it was also known for producing large quantities of unremarkable rosé, often sold in bulk. Today its most famous wines are still rosés, but their quality has improved dramatically. Notable red wines are also being made in Provence, particularly in Bandol, a tiny appellation east of Marseille. The largest appellation is Côtes de Provence. Other appellations include Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Côtes du Luberon, Cassis, Bellet, Palette and Les Baux de Provence. Red and white wines are made throughout the region, despite the attention paid to rosé. Red wine grapes grown in Provence are Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and some Cabernet Sauvignon. White wine grapes are Clairette, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Bourboulenc and Ugni Blanc.