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Vieux Marc de Bandol, Château Pibarnon (42.5°) - 1998

  • Appellation: Marc
  • Domain: Château Pibarnon
  • Grape variety(ies): Elaboré à partir de marcs de Mourvèdre égrappés.
  • On-call time: 30 years
  • Alcohol degree: 42.5%
Favour "chimney" glasses, and avoid the traditional belly glasses. This marc is the elegant expression of a noble and original eau de vie, resulting from the meeting of a grape variety, Mourvèdre, and a very particular soil. The finesse of a traditional eau de vie blends here with the southern accent of Mourvèdre which brings its notes of spices, pepper and garrigue. The nose is smooth, dense and elegant. It develops complex aromas of sultanas, plums, prunes, sweet and rare spices, with a slightly liquorice note. The palate is clean and enveloped. A beautiful attack, which opens on a very pleasant mellowness, and continues on a sensual and liquorice length.
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At the end of the vinification process, once the wines have been devatted, the red marcs from the presses are destemmed and stored in airtight vats. This is the Burgundian method. Distillation begins when the wines are finished and placed in tuns, generally in the first days of January.


The ageing process lasts more than 20 years. It is done exclusively in Limousin oak barrels with a capacity of 400 to 500 litres, with only 20% of the annual production of eau-de-vie being made from new barrels. We wish to maintain a balance and avoid any excessive addition of tannins which would contribute to hardening the eau-de-vie and reducing its original subtlety. The long maturation process is carried out thanks to the porosity of the wood which allows indirect contact between the eau-de-vie and the air.

At the age of 50, Eric de Saint-Victor's parents, Henri and Catherine, fell in love with Pibarnon, at the time a small Bandolais estate of 3.5 hectares run by a man from the Italian Piedmont. We are in 1978 and the work that awaits the couple is not small. They had to remodel the vineyard, extend it, consolidate the terraces and perpetuate the cultivation of Mourvèdre plants anchored in the hard limestone. Let's remember that at that time, the Provence of wine was a bit like the Far West. Nearly 40 years later, the estate covers almost 50 hectares, half of which are vineyards, divided into multiple restanques (terraces) which form an aesthetic circus testifying to a beautiful stubbornness of civilisation. They cover the hillside on all sides, the furthest being one or two kilometres away. In the early 1990s, Eric de Saint-Victor joined his parents on the property, refining the tight but free style they had developed. After having somewhat abandoned the whole crop during the 2000s, he has been working more with the "rafle" in recent vintages, discussions with great Burgundian winemakers having no doubt contributed to this. The maturing process is still traditional, mainly in large oak tuns.

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