The Peyrauds of Domaine Tempier in Bandol were instrumental in bringing back this almost forgotten appellation due south of Marseille. Domaine Tempier's rouge and rose have been on the list at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, where their importer, Kermit Lynch, is also based, since practically day one. Mourvedre, the grape that gives Bandols their inky color and wild, almost smoky taste, is suddenly in vogue among California winemakers too.
Small wonder. The normale from the great 2001 vintage has everything we've come to love about Bandol -- the taste of black cherries, color so deep it stains the glass, good concentration and raspy tannins. It's like Zinfandel without the sweetness. This 2001 is a terrific expression of Mourvedre, and much easier on the pocketbook than Tempier's more famous single vineyard bottlings.