The wines of Provence - FRENCH WINE
There are eight AC areas in Provence for a good French wine. We start with the most Northerly and then travel via Nice and along the coast to Aries.
CÔTES DE PROVENCE FRench WINE
This is the largest appellation of Provence wines in terms of volume. The area is subdivided into five terroirs: Les collines du Haut Pays, La vallee interieure, La bordure maritime, Le bassin du Beausset and La Ste-Victoire.
CÔTES DE PROVENCE ROSE FRENCH WINE
The colour of the rose depends on the winemaking method used and the length of time that the juice remained in contact with the grape skins. The longer this is, the darker is the wine. Provençal rose is dry, fruity, and elegant. The colour is always clear and sparkling. Drink this French wine at appr. 10°C (50°F).
CÔTES DE PROVENCE ROUGE FRench WINE
This is an excellent French wine made by traditional methods but with the help of modern technology. The wide differences in colour, bouquet, and taste result from the different terroirs, grapes used, and vinification method. Some wines are light and fruity with floral notes, others are mainly aged in wood, stronger, and fuller. These French wines need to be kept for a few years before drinking them.
Drink the lighter coloured fruity types French wine chilled at 14°C (57 .2°F) while the heavier types are better served slightly warmer at approx. 16°C (60.8°F).
COTES DE PROVENCE BLANC FRENCH WINE
This is a very rare French wine of high quality and always made with just white grapes: Blancs de Blancs. The choice of grapes and the terroir determine the character of the wine - from fresh and lithe to fullbodied and rounded. This French wine is worth discovering. Drink this French wine it chilled at approx. 10- 12°C (50- 53 .6°F) .
COTEAUX VAROIS FRench WINE
Coteaux Varois has only been recognised with an AC appellation since 1993. Pleasing, fruity, and full-bodied wines are made in the centre of the department of Var, around the picturesque little Provençal town of Brignoles.
Of these, 60% are rose, 35% red, and a mere 5% white wines. This French wine is similar to the Cotes de Provence. The vineyards of Bandol are planted in terraces or restanques on poor, calciferous gravels, protected by the amphitheatre of the wooded mountains (Massif de Ste-Beaume, 1,147 metres/3,763 feet). The sun shines here for at least 3,000 hours per year.
Fortunately the easterly and south-easterly winds bring showers and the southerly winds from the Mediterranean mitigate the heat. Generations of hard-working wine-growers built and maintain the restanques by hand. It is a constant battle over the course of centuries on this dry soil and steep slopes to prevent erosion. There is never a quiet time in these vineyards. Every job has to be done by hand because machines cannot work these terraces. This has its effect on the price of a good Bandol wine. An important factor in the price is the profit per hectare.
The legally prescribed maximum yield of 40 hectolitres per hectare is almost impossible to achieve here. The average is around 35 hectolitre per hectare. The total area in cultivation amounts to slightly more than 1,000 hectares. The local winemakers are perfectionists who constantly seek the best sites, the best grapes, the best vats etc. Their results mirror their efforts. Bandol belongs to the elite club of great French wines.