Château Canadel is a small family grower located in the hamlet of Le Plan du Castellet in the famed terraces of Bandol with 15ha of prime vineyards on a unique terroir. The property consists of a small village of historic houses, built around a chapel and ancient water canals, dating back to the 13th century. These canals gave the estate its name, which evolved over time: Canal d’eau to Canadeau, and then Canadel.
Canadel’s unique vineyards are planted on a geological anomaly with an inversion of soil layers from the birth of the Alps, known as the Renversement du Beausset. This resulted in the Triassic layer (200 million years old) being flipped above the Cretaceous (65 million years old), due to the subduction of a tectonic plate which has surfaced the oldest rock outcroppings in the whole of the appellation. To our knowledge, this unusual soil for the area is only also found at Pibarnon and in Domaine Tempier’s La Migoua vineyard, but almost nowhere else in appellation. The limestone and clay soils are particularly good for water retention in an otherwise arid region. The vineyards are planted on south-facing restanques (terraces), directly facing the Massif du Gros Cerveau, which blocks rain clouds and provides an ideal climate for full ripening of the indigenous mourvèdre grape.
After phylloxera, the vineyards here were planted with cuttings from historic estates for quality and clonal diversity with a focus on mourvèdre, along with cinsault and grenache. Throughout the 20th century, traditionally the grapes from this estate were sold to Domaine Ott. In 2007, the estate was purchased by Jacques and Caroline de Chateauvieux, who were returning with their family from the island of Réunion, beginning the revitalization of the unique history of the property and terroir.
Since 2009, the winery is run by their daughter Laure Benoist (agricultural engineer) and her husband Vianney Benoist (agronomist and enologist). Having spent 4 years making wine with the famed Domaine Tempier team, Vianney gained valuable experience in making soulful, broad-spectrum, cinematic red wines befitting of the Bandol appellation. Laure and Vianney practice organic viticulture and use biodynamic principles in their vineyard work, with all work being done by hand on the terraces. All movement in the winery is by gravity flow and wines are bottled unfiltered. Finally, after 5 years of diligent work in their vineyards, the first vintage was made in 2014 and the resulting wines already show incredible depth and terroir expression.
With their unique soil and position within Bandol in Le Plan du Castellet, Laure and Vianney are focussed on making long-lived reds from the local mourvèdre as well as small amounts of elegantly structured Bandol rosé and blanc. This young, hard-working estate is poised to claim their place among the greats of Bandol.
2015 was a warm, sunny year, yet had good water reserves from a rainy winter which allowed for ideal ripeness levels without the loss of acidity or freshness. Ample, ripe tannins have the structure to make this an epic vintage. Harvest is a by hand and began August 31 with grenache and ended September 22 with mourvèdre.
The 2015 Bandol rouge is comprised of 73% mourvèdre, 20% cinsault, 5% grenache, and 2% syrah with an average vine age of 37 years which yielded 35hl/ha of wine. The grapes are hand-harvested and sorted in the vineyard, then sorted again at the cellar before being de-stemmed. The fermentation with indigenous yeasts lasts 20 days in concrete tanks, with gentle pumping over each day. The wines then are aged 18 months in the traditional foudres of 3000L and 8000L, then bottled unfiltered by gravity in May 2016.
The 2015 Bandol rouge is aromatic, powerful, sophisticated and lengthy with ample acidity and with a knife’s-edge balance. These are savory wines of place with great staying power and electricity running through them.