The Provence wine region is best known for its subtly coloured, fruity and delicate Rosé, and Rosé production accounts for 88% of the region’s total. Reds (9%) and a few rare whites (3%) complete the regions viticultural portfolio.
Provence is nestled between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea in France’s south. The region’s vineyards total 27,000 hectares and stretch over 200 kilometers from east to west. Three main appellations create the region: Côte de Provence (including Sainte-Victoire, Fréjus and La Londe), Coteaux d’Aix-En-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence.
Approximately 2,600 years ago, whilst establishing a trading post at present day Marseille, the ancient Phocaeans fatefully introduced the first grape vines to Provence. Accordingly, Provence has been producing wine longer than any other region in France.
The reds are notoriously full bodied and designed to age. They have great structure, fruit and earthiness. The whites are subtle, fresh and aromatic and can have great complexity and minerality.
Provençal soils consist of two major types: crystalline and limestone rock mass.
The Provençal climate is hot, sunny and dry, but the region is also defined by its variability. Most of Provence’s rainfall comes with violent storms that occasionally threaten crops and production. Sunshine hours are very high, with between 2,700 to 2,900 hours a year. The famed Provençal ‘mistral’ wind benefits producers by mitigating humidity and associated vine disease.
Because the region is so large and climates diverse, twelve different grape varieties are common to Provence’s appellation controlled wines. They include Rolle, Ugni Blanc, Semillon and Bourboulenc Blanc for the whites and Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Carignan commonly amongst reds.
It is a fascinating region, defined by diversity, producing extraordinary wines.