Provence wines

Wines from Avignon to the Maritime Alps: French Provence

The wines of Provence are produced in the areas from the south of Avignon to the city of Nice. Its 9 denominations of origin differ from one another due to the great differences in terms of the characteristics and peculiarities of their terrains and climates. The regional denominations in which their wines are included are: AOC Côtes de Provence, AOC Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence and AOC Coteaux varois en Provence.

Provence is France’s oldest wine-growing region. Its rosé wines are world famous and full of Mediterranean character, fresh fruits, garrigue, sun and sea. Although production is focussed on rosé wine, there are also high quality reds and whites.

Provence wine history

The origin of Provence wine can be traced back to around the 6th century BC, when the Greeks settled in what we now know as Provence and began making wine there. Provence was the first French region to cultivate vines.

The Romans then took over and continued cultivating the vineyards and producing wine consistently until 120 AD when the Senate prohibited it because the region's wines were reducing the profitability of Italian wine exports.

Later, in the Middle Ages, Provence wines enjoyed a golden age. They were so prestigious that they were often found lining the tables of kings, popes and great nobles.

Years later, when phylloxera hit Europe, the vineyards were razed and it took years for the area to recover.

Viticulture in Provence now plays an important role in the region once again, and it is home to many of the world’s most sought-after rosé wines.

Grape varieties

Provence is particularly famous for its rosé wines. They account for 70% of production, while reds account for 25% and whites only 5%. Most the wines are a coupage of certain varieties that have perfectly adapted to the area over the years.

The most common varieties are Garnacha Tinta, Mourvèdre or Monastrell, Cinsault, Cariñena or Carignan. However, there are also many other varieties like Tibouren, Bourboulenc, Counoise, Muscardin, Picpoul Noir, Terret Noir, Vaccarèse, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon red varieties; and Clairette, Sémillon, Ugni Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier and la Rolle or Vermentino white varieties.

Location, climate and soils

Provence is the area to the east of the Rhone and stretches as far as the coastal town of Antibes. It includes the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Var, and Bouches-du-Rhône regions and part of Vaucluse and Alpes-Maritimes. The region is bordered to the east by the Var River which separates it from the County of Nizza, Italy, to the west by the Rhone, to the south by the Mediterranean and to the north by Mont Ventoux, the Lure Mountains and the Durance River.

Provence has a typically Mediterranean climate. The average temperature is approximately 14.5 degrees. Summers are dry and winters are quite cold. Rainfall is concentrated mainly in autumn and winter. However, because of its size and geography, there are various microclimates that bring a richness to the area and its wines.

The soils are predominantly limestone at the edges of the massifs, with schists, granites and soils with lots of silicas and sandstone in the valleys and lower areas.

Provence wine classification

Provence is divided into nine AOCs or Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, three regional denominations and five local denominations.

The regional denominations are AOC Côtes de Provence, AOC Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence and AOC Coteaux Varois. The local denominations are AOC Bandol, AOC Bellet, AOC Cassis, AOC Palette, AOC Les Baux de Provence.

In each denomination, wines are usually made with a coupage of different varieties from different plots, with different soils, to try and achieve balance and harmony between them to create the best possible wine.

Some outstanding Provence wineries

Domaine Ott: a winery founded by an Alsatian agronomist in 1912 who decided to settle in Provence. Since 2004, it has been part of the well-known champagne brand Louis Roederer. Of its three properties in Provence, two are classified as Cru Classé.

Clos de Cibonne: named after Jean-Baptiste de Cibon, who was captain of Louis XVI’s Royal Navy and the first owner of the winery's vines. This winery has been a pioneer in preserving the native Tibouren variety and produces very pale, elegant, fruity and fresh rosés.

Miraval: this is also the name of a château in Correns. Since 2011, it has been owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who were linked to the Perrin family, one of the most prestigious winemaking families in the Rhone Valley. Their rosés are fresh and fruity.

Domaine d'Eole: the winery run by Christian Raimont and Matthias Wimmer. They work organically, always carefully looking after their vineyards to produce high quality rosés in the AOC Côteaux de Provence.

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Whispering Angel Rosé 2022

France AOC Côtes de Provence (Provence)

As delicate and sensual as the whisper of an angel
Whispering Angel Rosé 2022
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M de Minuty 2023

France AOC Côtes de Provence (Provence)

A tribute to the quintessence of the French "art de vivre"
M de Minuty 2023
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