Airing this month to glowing reviews is the Showtime mini-series “Patrick Melrose” staring Benedict Cumberbatch. The production springs from five semi-autobiographical novels by Edward St. Aubyn.
In the final novel “At Last,” St. Aubyn winds down in acrid ironic prose, drenched with dark humor, the lacerating saga of Patrick Melrose. Born into the high tone world of England’s upper crust, Patrick is finally liberated from the ravages of addiction.
The narrative unfolds on the day of his mother’s funeral, compelling Patrick to confront with stoic detachment life in a post-parental world.
Patrick, having gone to New York to mind after the administration of a trust of which he is the ultimate beneficiary, is in discourse with his legal counsel Peter:
“Your mother must have been keeping it as a nice secret surprise,” said Peter with a big lazy smile.
“It might be that,” said Patrick tolerantly. “Where does the income go?”
“Currently we’re sending it to….’ Peter flicked over a sheet of paper, ‘the Association Transpersonel at the Banque Populaire de la Côte d’Azur in Lacoste.”
‘Well, you can stop that straight away,” said Patrick.
In the Vaucluse, there are no branches of the Banque Populaire de la Côte d’Azur. The bank, true to its geographic moniker, only serves the departments of the Alpes-Maritime and the Var.
In fact, Lacoste has no banks. The village is essentially denuded of commerce due to the preponderance of property owned either by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) or Pierre Cardin.
Throughout the book, there are numerous references to the family’s aristocratic perch of Saint-Nazaire in Provence, where Patrick was sexually assaulted on a staircase by his demented father, a raging pedophile.
In his writings, St. Aubyn never names the actual lieu, nor does the actual location ever part his lips in interviews. The trauma lingers.
His lyrical riffs reveal that the home is in wine country:
“In between were terraces where vine shoots burst from twisted stumps that spent winter looking like rusted iron, and olive trees rushed from green to grey and from green to grey in the combing wind.”
It was when I was researching the richly curated happiness of Richard Olney, Alice Waters, and Jim Harrison at the Domaine Tempier that I came across the authentic address.
Situated in the center of the AOC Bandol, the house is on Chemin du Canadeau 83330 Le Castellet.
It is a few minutes from the bastide of the heralded Domaine Tempier. (Kermit Lynch, the importer of Domaine Tempier, has a home in the area.)
Pair Watching Patrick Melrose with a Bandol Rosé
When viewing the Showtime series how can one resist the exquisite tantalizations of a Bandol rosé.
Bandol rosés have a brilliant reputation, irreproachable due to the structure and the balance of Mourvèdre grape, which dominates the blend.
With more mouthfeel than the pale Provence rosés, the color palette of Bandol rosés are nothing but sumptuous: pink salmon, peach, orange mango, rustic gold and a pale pomegranate.
The nose of Bandol rosés offers up glorious aromas beyond high-toned fruit: gardenia, white blossoms, fennel, anise and spicy aromas.
Brace yourself: the top-shelf vintages can strain even an aristocrat’s budget.
Yet, in the company of Patrick Melrose, wetting your palate with a luxurious Bandol rosé is an infinite pleasure that marries perfectly with the delicious, lofty narrative.