Whether you are a neophyte and want to know more about the wines of Provence, or you are an amateur and want to strengthen your knowledge, this article is for you!
Follow the guide to learn all about Provence wines.
The vineyards of Provence: a bit of history...
Did you know that the origin of Provence wines dates back to 600 BC? When the Phocéens disembark in Marseilles, they plant lambrusques.
In the 2nd century, the Romans developed the cultivation of vines in the Provincia Romana, and from the 5th to the 12th century, the monks continued, accompanied by the king-winegrower René d'Anjou, count of Provence (King René, star of 'Aix-en-Provence still today!), Which acquired many estates and laid the foundations of modern wine-growing Provence.
If during the following centuries, the vineyards were less popular, the sector was organized from the beginning of the 20th century, creating cooperatives and especially AOCs, for Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée.Today, the vineyard is vast: it stretches 200 km long, from Nice to the south of Avignon and 60 km wide, from the Mediterranean to the Alpilles.
The undisputed land of rosé
Between pines and olive trees, the vines of Provence are very diverse.
But we are not going to lie to each other: it is clearly the rosé that reigns supreme.
The rosé of Provence represents 90% of the production of Provençal wines, 38% of the national production and 8% of the world production.
Each year, around 150 million bottles of rosé are sold!
Beyond the numbers, rosé is very popular because it refreshes our summer meals and always brings back sweet and warm memories ...
But great red wines also in Provence
If the majority of Provence wineries produce rosé, professionals are proud to offer some very beautiful red wines, mainly reds for aging.
It reveals the richness and southern sensuality, which may recall, with age, certain Bordeaux Grands Crus.
The concept of Controlled Designation of Origin (PDO) was introduced for the first time in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region.
For connoisseurs, here are the main red grape varieties: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan, Tibouren, Mourvèdre, Cabernet-Sauvignon.
As for white wines, the main grape varieties are ugni blanc, vermentino (rolle), bourboulenc, clairette, sémillon and sauvignon.
Now is the time to reveal the most famous and popular appellations of Provence wines.
Côtes de Provence
Recognized in 1977, the Côtes de Provence appellation covers more than 20,000 hectares in 3 departments.
The Côtes de Provence are mainly rosé wines (90%) but also red (6.5%) and white (4.5%).
This very beautiful terroir is made up of 2 large geological groups (limestone and crystalline). Result: we obtain several types of Côtes de Provence, each with its geological and climatic personality.
For your information, be aware that there are 5 additional geographical names:
- Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire
- Côtes de Provence Fréjus
- Côtes de Provence La Londe
- Côtes de Provence Pierrefeu
- Côtes de Provence Notre-Dame des Anges
A Côte de Provence rosé will have a clear color and notes of fresh flowers, yellow and red fruits, as well as citrus zest.
On the palate, suppleness and roundness will be counterbalanced by a tangy impression.
And it is without a doubt his good balance between generosity and freshness that makes us love him so much ...
On the red side, you will appreciate this tannic wine with great potential.
And for gourmets, we end with our favorite recipe with a Côte de Provence: open ravioli with squash, olive oil, chestnuts and chanterelles, by Chef Hugo Van Vliet (chef of the restaurant “chez Hugo” in Seillans ( 83)).
A little younger, the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence obtained the AOC in 1985.
These are the most westerly vines of Provence wines: from the Durance to the Mediterranean, from the Rhône to the Sainte-Victoire mountain.
Here again, the Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence are predominantly rosé, although with more red than the other appellations.
For these wines, the climate has a key role, between the mistral, the cold and dry north wind, strong sunshine and low rains.
You will appreciate the sparkling and clear color of the rosé, its floral notes and small red fruits, as well as its intense citrus aromas and its accents of sweet spices.
A Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence red will be more full-bodied, it is a gourmet and fruity wine, not woody.
To enjoy a Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence with a good meal, we can only recommend the pork chop, Viennese with walnut and burnet, root vegetables and cocoa juice: a recipe from Chef Alexandre Lechêne of the restaurant “ Villa Salone “in Salon-de-Provence (13).
Do you want to discover the Coteaux d´Aix-en-Provence? Planetazur offers you visit the vineyards at the foot of Sainte-Victoire, wine tasting and lunch in a typical Provencal restaurant.
Coteaux Varois en Provence
Appellation recognized in 1993, the Coteaux Varois de Provence are located in the heart of limestone Provence, that is to say 28 municipalities around Brignoles.
The distribution is always clear with 90% rosé, but the red is making a place in the production with 7% (and therefore 3% for the white).
Thanks to the altitude and the rocky massifs stopping the maritime influences, we note the continental character for these wines.
The Coteaux Varois de Provence rosé has a beautiful pale color, a complex and expressive nose with floral notes and a wide range of fruits.
The palate is elegant, full-bodied and aromatic, and there is always a balance between roundness and freshness.
Let's also say a word about red wine: its color is brilliant, we smell black fruits, spices and undergrowth. On the palate, the structure is beautiful with marked tannins and a certain power. These are wines with great aging potential.
Our favorite recipe with a Var hills in Provence? A Mediterranean fish, stuffed zucchini flower, tomato, olive and basil from the garden.
If you don't feast on this recipe from Chef Nicolas Pierantoni from the “Hostellerie de l'Abbaye” in La Celle (83) ...
Nothing like spreading out the visits over 3 days to make the most of them! Discover the itinerary that Planetazur has concocted for you: on the program, heritage, wines and gastronomy.
And for other ideas for activities, visits and discoveries, do not hesitate to consult our directory!