Wines from Provence and the Cotes d’Azur26-07-2017
With the grape harvest glimmering on the horizon, www.franceagroalimentaire.com shines the spotlight on Provence wines.
A vineyard bathed in sunlight
Nestling between the Mediterranean and the French Alps, the vineyards of Provence extend west to east over approximately 200km. The designated area of production is characterised by relatively poor, well-drained soils and typical Mediterranean conditions, which means local mistral wind, abundant sunshine and very little rainfall in summer. The wines fall under three major appellations:
– AC Côtes de Provence, including Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire, Côtes de Provence Fréjus, Côtes de Provence La Londe and Côtes de Provence Pierrefeu
– AC Coteaux d’Aix en Provence
– AC Coteaux Varois en Provence
Producing 160 million bottles, Provence is France’s leading producer of AC rosé wine, accounting for over a third of the country’s total production (38%), and around 8% of global production. Historically known as a specialist of pale, fruity and full-bodied rosé, the red wines are no less remarkable. Look out for gutsy, full-bodied red wines, which can be cellar-aged for several years, and also light, delicate and soft white wines.
“Une journee sans vin est une journee sans soleil”
A day without wine is like a day without sun.
A real taste for rosé wine in export markets
Given the huge success of Provence rosé, France has been the world’s no.1 producer and consumer of rosé wine for more than a decade. In 2015, France was responsible for more than a third of global volumes (36%) according to the CIVP, the interprofessional organisation for Provence wines. With sales worth 1.5 billion euros in 2015, France is also the world’s leading exporter of rosé wine in value (30%), and Provence rosé accounts for almost half of this (45%). To differentiate their rose wines on the international market, Provence has focused primarily on its upmarket appeal, in order to develop an easily identifiable product for consumers: pale, dry rose wine with little added sugar. The strategy seems to have paid off, with volume exports having quadrupled since 2002. In total, more than 160 million bottles are sold outside France, worth more than 670 million euros.
A region ripe for tourism
Provence wine is a very sociable wine and great for sharing with friends. Provence is synonymous with rosé wines, which in turns instantly conjures up summer drinking. For picnics, al fresco drinking or summer barbecues, rosé wine is made to be shared. Free from convention, the wines lend themselves effortlessly to all manner of wild and wonderful dishes and work particularly well with foods from around the world. Rosé wine is easy and simple to drink, synonymous with simple, spontaneous pleasure. It’s a new, utterly relaxed way to drink wine. When in France, you can savour the delights of rose wine from Arles in Provence, all the way to Nice.
This relaxed spirit is embodied in the region of production. Just imagine, glass in hand, wandering near the mountain of Sainte-Victoire so dear to artist Paul Cezanne, or dining in the picturesque port of Cassis, in the shadow of the imposing cliffs and vineyards that rule the surrounding area so majestically. Or take a stroll around Bandol to savour the world-acclaimed red wines. And your stroll could culminate in the charming village of La Cadiere d’Azur, clinging to the rockface and offering spectacular vineyard views as far as the eye can see, or in Correns to taste its organic wines.
Map of Provence vineyards
Lots to do around the vineyards
Finally, if you prefer to see the region in a different light, a whole host of original activities will keep visitors amused while sipping delicious local wines and discovering France’s oldest wine region; from trips through the vines on electric bikes or on foot, to wine and food courses and workshops, or charming accommodation in the heart of the vines.