Provence has been a land of vineyards since antiquity. It was the Greeks who brought vines to the south of Gaul in 5th century BC. Now this lush southern region is renown for its fine reds, whites, and rosés.
The Provencal Vineyards
Strength and Generosity
Between the Mediterranean and the Alps, the Provençal vineyards extend from East to West over almost 200km, mainly in the Var and the Bouches-du-Rhône departments. They are also sprinkled around the Alpes-Maritimes. Historically specialising in clear, fruity and generous rosés, Provençal vineyards also produce remarkable, powerful, full-bodied reds, which age well in the cellar. Whites are light, delicate, and easy to drink. The Alpes-de-Haute-Provence area also produces fine wines, including AOP Pierrevert (Protected Designation of Origin).
Three Stars in Provence
Provençal vineyards have three major appellations, representing 96% of the volume of wines of Provençal appellations.
More than 600 Enthusiasts
In Provence, around 600 producers (540 individual cellars and 60 co-operative cellars) and 40 wine merchants (négociants) produce 1.2 million hectolitres every year. That’s the equivalent of 160 million bottles: 88.5% rosé, 8% red and 3.5% white. Provence is the biggest AOC rosé-producing region in France: it supplies 35% of national production. And more than 5% of rosé in the world.
The Grape Varieties
An Extremely Varied Palette
More than a dozen grape varieties are used to make the wines of Provence. Some of them form a basis which can be found in the majority of the region’s vineyards, while others are more specific to certain appellations. Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Tibouren, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon produce reds and rosés. Rolle, Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Sémillon and Bourboulenc compose the whites.
La Route des Vins
The Soul of the Wines of Provence
The best way to explore the wines of Provence is to open the doors of the region’s many cellars to immerse in the culture. Tasting well-known or unsung wines, talking, and listening to the secrets which Provençal winemakers are keen to share. Guided tastings, cellar tours, a stroll in the vines, tables d’hôtes, guest houses and holiday homes. Wine tourism is more than a new kind of tourism. It is also a lifestyle, where you can get closer to the land, the terroir and the winemaker.
EXPLORING RHÔNE VALLEY AND PROVENCE WINES
With their lively floral white wines and their smooth and powerful reds, the great vintages of the south do not lack character. From beginners to experienced wine lovers, head off on the Rhône Valley and Provence Wine Route to find what pleases your palate!