Domaine Tempier

It takes an exceptional person — or in this case, two — to build a legend that doesn’t tarnish. Lucien and Lulu Peyraud did just that, and the world of wine is all the better for it. The proprietors of Domaine Tempier, even now that they’ve passed, are fixtures in the stories and minds of wine lovers around the world. Together they turned their estate into the jewel of Bandol, and Bandol into the fulcrum of Provence. Their hospitality has been lauded and cookbooks have been written in an attempt to transport readers to Lulu’s mythic table. So we’re here to celebrate their legacy by telling their story. It’s one that never loses its relevance.

The Peyrauds: A Lasting Partnership in Wine and Life

It was never the right time. Lucien and Lucie (Lulu) Peyraud married in 1936. Domaine Tempier was her family legacy, but it had struggled through the devastations of phylloxera and war, never quite taking off. That changed when they moved onto the property in 1940. Lucien was deadset not only on becoming a great winemaker but on establishing Bandol as a place to find fine red wine made from the Mourvèdre grape variety.

He was active in the wine scene of the time, eventually becoming the president of the Association to Promote the Bandol Label of Origin. Through the 1960s and 70s, their reputation grew alongside their region's. All the while, Lulu was making a name for herself as an extraordinary host. She traveled around France representing Domaine Tempier and when she was home, she would host incredible parties at her massive table, whipping up fresh regional dishes in her giant woodfired oven. There was always room for one more, and there was always great wine.

They tirelessly worked to promote not only their own wines but the wines of their peers. To establish Bandol as an appellation of significance, a place to find seriously good wines that would stand the test of time. Without them at the wheel, Bandol wouldn’t be the region it is today.

The Peyrauds' Philosophy: Organic Farming and Sustainability

From the start, Lucien embraced a different approach to winemaking. Even though the use of insecticides and pesticides had become popular during the first world war, he knew instinctively that he could make better wine without them. It wasn’t necessarily a scientific conviction, but a faith in the land he walked every day. He knew that Mourvèdre especially, grown in these soils, could create wines of distinction that would age for a lifetime.

So he embraced organic farming, long before that practice became popular. This approach led to more biodiversity in the vineyard and resulted in more complex wines that shouted out their terroir. They modeled how to create great, minimal-intervention wine decades before anything was even using that phrase, and the results spoke for themselves.

Lulu's Cuisine: A Celebration of Provençal Flavors

As much as Lucien did for Bandol and Mourvèdre, Lulu did for hospitality and home cooking. The stories of her table inspire hunger and thirst for the good life. She was a student of the farmers market, who would transform local vegetables, meats, cheeses, and fruits into simple, delicious dishes eaten outside or indoors at the rustic table in front of her massive wood-fired oven. A meal at Lulu’s would last for hours, beginning with fresh radishes or anchoïade eaten with their signature rosé and moving on to simple but vibrant salads, her famous saffron-infused bouillabaisse or maybe grilled lamb paired with their vibrant Mourvèdre, and coming to a close over fresh local goat cheeses, fruits, and a small cup of coffee.

It wasn’t just what she put on the table, though. It was how she invited people to that table. Kermit Lynch famously recalled that when he first visited the domaine, he arrived at his hotel only to find that his reservation had been canceled. The concierge told him that Lulu was responsible, and she insisted that he stay at the domaine. It was a kind of uncommon warmth that inspired deep, lasting affection and care. When she passed away in 2020, it was a loss to everyone who knew her, and even those who didn’t.

The icons of food and wine that she inspired are limitless, but among the most notable are Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, Kermit Lynch, and food writer Richard Olney, who published a book of her recipes in 1994.

The Cult Status of Domaine Tempier

The Peyrauds' tireless efforts in promoting Bandol and their unwavering dedication to their craft have put Domaine Tempier on the map. Today, their wines are highly sought after. This growing demand is a testament to the lasting impact of the Peyrauds' work and the exceptional quality of their wines.

As a result of their cult status, obtaining an allocation of Domaine Tempier wines has become a challenge for many. The limited production and increasing global recognition make these wines a rare treasure for those lucky enough to secure a share. This exclusivity only adds to the allure of Domaine Tempier, making each bottle even more precious.

We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have access to Domaine Tempier's wines and to be able to share them with our community. As we celebrate the legacy of Lucien and Lulu Peyraud, we also revel in the opportunity to introduce others to the magic of their wines. It is an honor to carry on their story and to contribute to the lasting impact of Domaine Tempier and the incredible wines they have crafted.

The Legacy of the Peyrauds at Domaine Tempier

In the world of wine, the Peyrauds' unwavering dedication to their craft and passion for hospitality has left an indelible mark. Today, under the management of Daniel Ravier, Domaine Tempier continues to honor their vision, preserving their commitment to thoughtful farming (the domaine is now biodynamic), producing exceptional wines, and maintaining a strong sense of community.

The impact of their winemaking and hospitality philosophies has transcended Domaine Tempier, influencing a generation of winemakers, chefs, and wine enthusiasts, including Dedalus. We quite literally would not exist without them, and work every day to provide the kind of genuine, memorable hospitality that Lulu was so famous for.

As we raise our glasses in tribute to Lucien and Lulu Peyraud, we celebrate not only their achievements but also the spirit they embodied. They were the heart and soul of Domaine Tempier and Bandol wines, and their story serves as a reminder that passion, dedication, and a deep love for the land and its people can create a legacy that stands the test of time. The Peyrauds' story will forever be intertwined with the history of Bandol, and their passion for wine, food, and hospitality will continue to inspire generations to come.