Provence is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in France. Around 600 BC, Greek settlers founded Massalia (Marseille), Nike (Nice), Antipolis (Antibes) and Athénopolis (Saint-Tropez), and established the first vineyards there. Subsequently, the Romans expanded wine growing on a large scale. They also gave the area the name Provincia Romana, later Provence, because they considered the area a province of their great empire.
More information about Provence
The wine region of Provence stretches from Nice in the east to Arles in the west. The south is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the northeast borders the Southern Rhône. The climate is one of the driest, warmest and sunniest in France and ideal for wine growing. The mistral from the north sometimes flogs the vines, but at the same time protects them from fungi and organic viticulture is taking place on an increasingly large scale. The best vineyards are located on southern slopes and are therefore better protected from the wind.
When you think of Provence, you think of the immensely popular pale pink rosé. This type of rosé is made by soaking the blue grapes for a short time until the juice has acquired the desired light pink color. They are then quickly but carefully pressed and the juice is further fermented at a low temperature to retain the fresh fruit aromas.
By far the largest part of the total wine production in Provence is rosé and a large amount is consumed locally. Those fresh, fruity wines are of course perfectly suited to the sunny climate and to the Provencal cuisine with dishes such as salad niçoise and soupe au pistou. But also in our country, no summer passes by without the patio tables or picnic blankets being filled with glasses and bottles of light pink rosé from Provence. It is therefore not surprising that this style has now spread to other wine regions. Worldwide, deep-colored, powerful rosés are increasingly making way for more subtle varieties, of course with the example of Provence as an example.
In addition to rosé, beautiful red and white wines are also made. Red is originally made from grenache, cinsault, tibouren and of course mourvèdre (think of Bandol), but increasingly syrah and cabernet sauvignon are part of a blend and the fruit in red wines is also emphasized. A small percentage of white is made from a variety of grapes. Vermentino, locally called rolle, is one of them and produces fresh, characterful wines. Grand Cru wines have an extensive range of Provence wines from all well-known houses. Ott, Minuty, MIP, Miraval and Tempol's natural Bandol wines.
What about the subregions in Provence?
Provence is divided into several subregions, each with its own distinct characteristics and wine-producing traditions. The primary subregions within Provence include:
Côtes de Provence:
Côtes de Provence is the largest and most well-known appellation within the Provence wine region, covering a vast area that includes a variety of terroirs. It is known for producing a significant proportion of the region's wines, including reds, whites, and, most notably, rosés.
The grape varieties used in Côtes de Provence wines include Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan, Rolle, Ugni Blanc, and others.
The subregion's terroir is diverse, with a range of soils such as limestone, clay, gravel, and sand. The climate is typically Mediterranean.
Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence is another significant appellation in Provence. It is known for its diverse landscapes and produces a range of wines, with a focus on both reds and rosés.
Similar to Côtes de Provence, the grape varieties in Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence include Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, and others.
The terroir in this subregion varies, featuring soils such as limestone, clay, and gravel. The climate is Mediterranean, contributing to the quality of the wines.
Coteaux Varois en Provence:
Coteaux Varois en Provence is a smaller appellation compared to Côtes de Provence and Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence. It is situated in the eastern part of Provence and is known for producing red, white, and rosé wines.
The grape varieties used in this subregion are similar to those in other parts of Provence, including Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and others.
The terroir features a mix of soils, including limestone and clay. The climate is Mediterranean, contributing to the ripening of the grapes.
These subregions, along with other smaller appellations, contribute to the overall diversity and richness of the wines produced in Provence. While rosé wines are a highlight, each subregion also has its own expression of red and white wines, showcasing the unique characteristics of the local terroir and grape varieties.