A look at Provence

Posted on June 13, 2015 by Abbelio Wines | 0 comments

Lavender Provence

Provence: this name conjures up visions of lavender, sunflowers, olive trees, and wine – lots of wine – This historic region sits along the Mediterranean coast of France, bordered by the Rhone River to the west and the Côte d’Azur on the east. Wine has been made here for over 2600 years, making Provence the oldest wine producing region of France. It is also the only place to focus on Rosé. 

Provence is blessed with a fantastic climate, especially for grapes. The region gets lots of sunshine and not too much rain with warm days and cool evenings. The Mediterranean moderates the temperatures and the famous “Mistral wind" keeps the vineyards dry, free of pests. 

Grapes in Provence

Throughout Provence, wild, resinous shrubs like rosemary, juniper, thyme and lavender grow almost everywhere influencing the character of the wines. With all these different soils, climate, altitude and historical influences, it only makes sense that Provence is home to many varieties of grapes. White grapes of Provence include: Rolle (aka Vermentino); Ugni Blanc (aka Trebbiano); Bourboulenc; Clairette; Marsanne; Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. 

Most of the traditional red grapes are found elsewhere in France and the Mediterranean; these include, Grenache Noir; Syrah; Mourvedre; Carignan; Cinsault; Counoise; Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Traditional red grapes

But, the largest AOC, and the biggest producer with about 75% of wine production (of which 89% is Rosé), is the Cote de Provence. 

Because of the region’s size, there are a variety of influences at work: differences in climate, altitude of vineyards, soils and rainfall, for example, can be so varied that there’s actually a difference of 60 days between the start of harvest in the southern coastal vineyards and their cooler, inland counterparts.  

A little scheme of the disposition of Provence wine could help to understand them origin:

Disposition of Provence wine

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