Foundation of Moulin de la Roque. Located in la Cadière d’Azur in a former wheat mill, the cellar used to be devoted to the growing of Bandol wines from Saint Cyr, Sanary and La Cadière wineries.
It was through the winegrowers’ dogged perseverance and massive investments that – since that date- Moulin de la Roque has been able to vinify its own wines.
The “Maîtres Vignerons” of Beausset joined Moulin de la Roque.
Moulin de la Roque turned towards sustainable practices and aimed at incorporating sustainable methods into all its activities and relationships with partners ( customers, suppliers, staff and local authorities)..
A half-buried cellar –designed according to strict eco-friendly standards- was built in an outstanding site at the foot of the village of Le Castellet. Right in the heart of the vineyard, the winery combines tradition with state-of-the-art equipment and also includes host venues and a tasting room.
Opening of a new space boutique at Le Beausset.
A specific geography
The terroir of Bandol- oriented towards the Mediterranean Sea and surrounded by a range of hills and mountains- is shaped like a perfect natural amphitheatre. The Moulin de La Roque vineyard- boasting 1,500 parcels over a total surface area of 305 hectares- straddles 8 communes: Bandol, La Cadière d’Azur, Le Castellet, Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, Le Beausset, Evenos, Ollioules and Sanary-sur-Mer). Such diversity is one of this terroir’s most precious assets.
An ideal microclimate
The terroir of Bandol benefits from a micro-climate favourable to the optimal ripeness of Mourvèdre which is the main grape variety. The vineyard enjoys maximum sunshine exceeding 3,000 hours per year. The Mediterranean climate – characterized by rather wet and mild winters with pretty scarce but intense rainfalls as well as hot and dry summers- is tempered with maritime influence. The neighbouring hills shield the vineyards from the onsets of Mistral ( a strong northerly cold wind blowing through southern France).
A mosaic of terroir
In order to enhance the personality of its Bandol wines, Moulin de La Roque has collaborated with bodies such as I.N.A.O, the Chamber of Agriculture and I.C.V. since 1997. This collaboration has made it possible to identify homogeneous entities regarding geology and pedology. As a result Mourvèdre grapes can be vinified separately according to what terroir zone they belong to. Five terroirs – each having their own characteristics depending on the vintage year- have been identified and the best Bandol wines are produced by blending these wines.
Archaeological remains indicate that as early as the 6th century B.C., men manually shaped Bandol’s landscape by crafting terraced vineyards (locally known as “restanques”). Dry stone walls were built to hold back the earth but also the water which is essential to the life of these vineyards clinging to little fertile hillsides.
It was in the 1930’s that- thanks to a handful of winegrowers determined to produce quality wines- Bandol wines won acclaim. Following hard work selecting the most suitable varietals, terroir studies carried out by geologists and a combination of ancestral and modern practices, Bandol winegrowers have reaped the fruit of their labors.
Bandol was first officially established as an appellation in 1941 and was among the first appellations to be recognized by the Institut National des Apellations d’Origine.
The 198 winegrowers or so of Moulin de La Roque- all sharing the same deep belief that quality is the key word- today continue to perpetuate this heritage.
Strenuous efforts and dogged perseverance towards improving quality are every day rewarded by satisfied and faithful customers.
Our red and rosé wines are based on a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan.
Mourvèdre- Bandol ’s emblematic grape variety- covers more than 50% of Moulin de La Roque’s vineyards. This most demanding varietal perfectly harmonizes with the terroir of Bandol. Mourvèdre grapes produce full-bodied wines with a long ageing potential and a wide array of aromas such as black fruit, spices, prunes, liquorice, leather, garrigue and undergrowth.
Grenache is well-adapted to arid conditions and its upright bearing is ideal against the Mistral wind. The best results come from vines planted on hillsides no matter how stony and dry they are. Grenache-based wines are hearty and exhibit notes of red and exotic fruit, spices and animal scents.
As for Cinsault- an indigenous variety- it needs plenty of hot weather to thrive, perfectly adapts to drought conditions and strikes the right balance between the high-alcohol potential of Grenache and the tannic backbone of Mourvèdre. Low yield Cinsault grapes impart elegance, fruit and roundness to our wines.
Planted on Bandol ‘s hillsides, the old vines of Carignan produce wines that are deep red in colour, full-bodied and powerful. Blending them with Mourvèdre results in great wines which will need some ageing in the cellar to taste their best.
Our white wines are based on Clairette (a variety typical of southern areas) but also Ugni Blanc. Clairette brings roundness and very fine aromas ( white flowers, honey, white-fleshed or exotic fruit) while Ugni Blanc imparts a taut and balanced character to our wines.
Moulin de La Roque benefits from the most modern winemaking techniques as well as state-of-the-art equipment and yet, the ancestral methods that make Bandol wines a recognized appellation today have been preserved.
The hand-picked grapes are entirely de-stemmed in order to avoid the harshness of the stalks’tannins. After a careful selection both in the vineyard and at the press-house, the grapes used for making white and rosé wines are poured into pneumatic presses and the must falls into stainless steel vats by gravity flow. The control of temperatures is a crucial process to preserve the finest aromas during alcoholic fermentation. Maintaining the juices at constant temperature as well as putting them under inert atmosphere to prevent oxidation enables to preserve the entire freshness of our rosé and white wines.
The grapes used for red wines are vinified in stainless steel tanks according to the kind of terroir they come from . Separate vinification gives our oenologist a wide range of wines that will be blended in varying proportions according to the desired type of cuvées.
Once alcoholic fermentation is over, a long 20 to 30 day -vatting time makes sure the young wine acquires its full potential. Then the wine will be matured from 18 to 30 months in foudres ( big oak barrels) to enhance organoleptic qualities. Indeed it is during this maturing period that the rich tannins of Mourvèdre will soften and gain in finesse and elegance.
Every year, partnerships with I.C.V. and the Centre du Rosé give us the opportunity to experiment the most advanced technologies such as cold pre-fermentation maceration, maturing on fines lees in oak barrels or adapted pressing cycles respecting the integrity of grapes.
Thanks to constant efforts towards improving the quality of our wines, Moulin de La Roque received ISO 9001 certification in 2004 and NFV01-007 in 2010. We also committed to a sustainable development programme in 2007. So each year Moulin de La Roque commits itself to prove its capability to make products satisfying our clients ’needs and in full compliance with regulatory requirements.
The HACCP programme started in 2007 guarantees the traceability of our products and high standards of food safety for consumers. In their parcels, our vine-growers do the seasonal vineyard operations either by hand or mechanically, always making sure these tasks are justified by careful observation: fertilization according to vine vigour, short and rigorous pruning, mechanical soil tillage, manual de-budding and epamprage ( removal of young vine branches), yield control through green harvests if necessary, spraying of vine protection products according to weather conditions and pest assessments and controls in the parcels.
The grapes are checked in each parcel and the date of picking is set according to optimal ripeness, grape varieties, terroir types and cuvees.
Picking is exclusively done by hand. Each batch of grapes is meticulously checked (degree of ripeness and soundness) to capture the quintessence of each particular vintage year.
The emblem of our visual identity is the tarente, a lizard typical of Provence that plays a major role in the protection of the regional ecosystem.
As the sun sets behind the restanques ( a sort of dry stone breakwalls) you might be lucky enough to see one of them. The tarente, mimetically hiding among the stones, knows she brings good luck to this exceptional land. Invisible during the day, she absorbs the sunlight heat. At night, this hunteress relentlessly hunts down the pests that might otherwine impair the quality of wines. The men of Moulin de La Roque -proud of their technical skills and expertise that have been handed down and improved from generation to generation- perfectly know they owe the tarente a great debt of gratitude. They also know that exceptional things are synonymous with rarety and a hint of magic.