Wine from Provence is known for being fresh and fruity and is usually pairs well with seafood. The important red wine grapes of Provence are the Carigan, Cinsaut, and Mourvèdre whilst the important white wine grapes are the Ugni, Clairette, and Rolle.
Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Bandol, Cassis, and Bellet, all sub-regions of Provence, are known for their wonderful wines. If you're planning on visiting Provence, wine tasting or touring is an amazing way to spend your time.
There are vineyards throughout almost all of Provence. Where there isn't a vineyard, there are vast fields of beautiful lavender. This makes Provence one of the most beautiful areas of France to visit! That said, if you're in Provence and planning on touring some of the vineyards, you'll want to know what kinds of wines come from what areas of Provence so you can visit a winery that produces a wine you would likely enjoy.
The Côtes de Provence Wine Region
The Côtes de Provence spans from Marseille to Nice which is the area also known as the Côtes d’Azur (French Riviera.) This area is particularly known for its rose wine. In fact, nearly 80% of the 160 million bottles of wine are produced each year in this region is rose wine and half of all of France’s rose wine is made here. That's pretty astounding, isn't it?
Many people think rose wine is created by mixing white and red wines. This is actually a myth, but it does a tiny bit of truth behind it because it's actually made from mixing white and red grapes which are then used to make wine.
If you'd like to pair your wine with the local fare, this area is known for some amazing food. You can expect dishes like tomatoes provençales on your plate and to enjoy cheeses like feta, picodon, and pélardon.
Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Wine Region
The Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence is the second largest region in Provence. This region spans from the River Durance in the north and the Mediterranean in the south. In the heart of the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence is Aix-en-Provence which is a beautiful city built over hot springs.
The Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence region is known mostly for its red wine as it accounts for nearly 60% of the wine produced here. The most important grapes of this region are Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Cinsaut.
Bandol Wine Region
The Bandol region spans between La Ciotat and Toulon. This area is known for some of the oldest vineyards of France. Since Marseille is nearby, the Bandol area has been exporting wine overseas for hundreds of years. Over 70% of wines produced in the Bandol region are red wines.
Due to the coastal climate and soil composition, Mourvèdre grapes have flourished in this area. Red and rose wines from this region must contain at least 50% Mourvèdre grapes in their blend, but due to the full, rich flavor, producers often use a higher percentage of Mourvèdre in their blend. Grenache and Cinsaut are also important grapes in this region.
Red Bandol wine is required to age at least 18 months, but most wine drinkers prefer Red Bandol to be aged 10 years. Bandol is also a place where many people go to enjoy the weather and the beaches. This area has become quite the tourist location!
Cassis Wine Region
In the area located along the coast between Bandol and Marseille, is the Cassis region. Unlike many surrounding regions, the Cassis region produces primarily white wine. The weather in the Cassis region paired with the limestone that makes up a large portion of the soil composition has allowed grapes such as Clairette, Ugni blanc, Sauvignon blanc, and Marsanne to flourish.
The wine production of Cassis currently cannot meet up with the demand so many local laws have been created to protect vineyards from residential and commercial development. The low acid, full-bodied Provençal wines from this region are paired best with local seafood.
Did You Know?
Many people think rose wine is created by mixing white and red wines. This is actually a myth, but as with many myths, there is a tiny bit of truth behind it.
Rose wine is actually made from mixing white and red grapes which are then used to make wine.
Bellet Wine Region
Bellet is the small region that surrounds the city of Nice. Because of the steep land grade in the Bellet region, machines cannot be used to aid in the production of wine, thus less than 100,000 bottles are produced here. White wines produced in the Bellet region are primarily made from Pignerol and Mayorquin grapes while red and rose wines are primarily made from Fuella and Braquet grapes.
Although Bellet is very small, it's a great area to visit and to enjoy the wonderful landscapes. There are many vacation rentals in the area which allow wine tasters to enjoy all of what this region has to offer. As Nice is nearby, the city is also another option for those wishing to stay in the area.
While Provence is known most for its beautiful coastline, wonderful wines, and of course, lavender, there are many other things that those visiting Provence can do. Chocolate tasting has become increasingly popular and of course, if you're going to try some amazing chocolate, it'll be in France!
There is also a number of outdoor markets in Provence where fresh fruits and vegetables are available. Visiting an outdoor market is definitely a wonderful way to experience what France has to offer. Going on a chateau tour is also very popular in Provence as many of the most beautiful French castles can be found here.
© 2010 Melanie Palen
steveamy from Florida on December 07, 2011:
A nice primer on the wines of Provence....made me want a glass of Dom. Tempier Rose...
rjsadowski on November 03, 2011:
A very complete article. but you should be aware that rose wines can be made from any colored grapes. The inside of all grapes are nearly colorless and the skin contains the pigment which is mostly alcohol soluble. The color of the wine depends on how long you leave the skins with the wine. For white wine, you ferment just the juice, for rose's you remove the skins when you get the color you desire. Most chanmpagnes are made from the pinot noir grape which has a dark blue skin.
Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on March 10, 2011:
This is a great Hub! We are going to Bonnieux a small town in Provence this summer and I bookmarked your page for reference. I'm sure some wine tasting will occur. ;)
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on December 28, 2010:
I am glad you enjoyed it!
Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 07, 2010:
Thank you for an interesting article.