Tempier is a truly legendary domaine in Bandol, Provence. The family estate was already a century old when its patriarch gifted it to daughter Lucie “Lulu” Tempier on her marriage to Lucien Peyraud in 1936. The couple created a magnificent connection between wine, food and life on the estate, with Lucien focussing on the vines and Lulu serving luscious, homemade Provencal cuisine to guests and their own family of seven children.
Lucien immersed himself in learning about the terroir and specifically, its Mourvèdre vines. He discovered older Mourvèdre vineyards were being replanted with higher-yielding varieties, despite its long historical connection with the area. Lucien also realised Mourvèdre was more resistant to oxidation than other varieties, meaning it produced wines with great potential for ageing.
In the early 1940s, Lucien aligned with neighbouring vignerons to work with the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origines) to establish Bandol as its own A.O.C. This encouraged large-scale replanting of Mourvèdre in the region.
Lucien retired in the early 1970s, and his sons François and Jean-Marie took on winemaking responsibilities. The brothers continued their parents’ traditions of embracing innovation and respecting the environment. François and Jean-Marie focused much of their attention on developing the estate’s three unique, single-vineyard wines: La Migoua, La Tourtine and Cabassaou.
The brothers retired almost 20 years ago and the domaine is now run by the talented Daniel Ravier. He has a strong respect for the estate’s traditions, continuing to produce the same style of wines. Continuing the focus on viticulture, Daniel has moved the property to be completely biodynamic.
Domaine Tempier is in the sunniest part of France, which creates good conditions for maturing grapes. Being close to the sea means it doesn’t get too hot, even in the height of summer. The estate has variations of limestone and clay soils between the vineyards and it produces undeniably world-class wines.
Tempier’s garrigue-scented rosé has developed such a cult following that it sells out long before the next vintage is available, yet it’s one of the world’s few rosés seriously worth ageing. This rosé, along with the estate’s Bandol Blanc and cuvées of Bandol rouge, makes the wines of Domaine Tempier stand out as the benchmark for Provençal wines. It produces deep and structured wines of such refinement and longevity that it is truly a grand cru de Provence.
Lucien passed away in 1996 but will always be recognised as the Godfather of Bandol and the man who revived Mourvèdre to its former glory.