The French wine-growing region of Provence covers a large territory from Nice to Arles. It is no surprise therefore that Provenal wines vary so greatly in their colour, bouquet, and taste. The vineyards are often widely scattered which makes working them more difficult. Most growers therefore belong to a co-operative to keep their costs down. The best wines generally come from smaller independent estates, which bottle their own wines. The price of these wines is naturally dearer than those from cooperatives but the difference in quality justifies the extra cost.
The grape varieties from Provence
In common with much of the rest of the south of France, a wide assortment of grape varieties are grown in Provence. There are 20 different types in total. Most wines are made by blending more than one grape variety.
For red and rose wines the choice is from Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and the less well-known Tibouren, Calitor, Braquet, Folle Noire (Fuella) and Barberoux. For the white wines Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Rolle and Semillon are used, sometimes supplemented with Chardonnay, White Grenache, Picpoul, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat.