Provence

Located in the southeast part of France, the Provence Wine Region encompasses some of the world’s most unique and stunning vineyards. Although it is mainly known for its prosperous olive oil industry, the region has quite a storied history when it comes to wine as well.

Provence has only 500 wineries spread across just 68,000 sections of land (27,500 hectares). The district’s astounding variety of soil types supports the development of a broad scope of grape varietals. While the district produces reds and whites[1], rosé has for some time been their masterpiece. 75% or 105 million of the 140 million jugs created in Provence every year are rosés.

History

The history of winemaking goes back to prehistoric times, and there is evidence of the wine being produced in what is now southern France about 6000 years ago. It was here that early winemaking processes were developed with grape presses dating from around 2000 BC, according to findings from archaeological digs. However, most agree that it was during Roman times when vines were brought over from Italy and adapted to produce wines similar to those we drink today.

Reasons Why This Region Is So Famous

When you look for a scenic and beautiful part of France, Provence will come to your mind. There is a book called ‘A Year In Provence’ written by Peter Mayle that brought the region to fame. Today, it has become a highly desired destination for a vacation. If you plan to visit this beautiful region, you need to check out the following points that make this wine region famous.

  • Lavender Fields: The fields of this notable flower bring a stunning sight and beautiful scent to visitors.
  • Small Hilltop Villages: The villages located on the hilltop make this region very attractive. There is also a stone village that will give you historical flavor, and the nearby sights are also incredible. Village of Gordes is also famous for its ancient castle, narrow lanes, beautiful views, and cobblestone streets.
  • Exceptional Wines: People living here have been making wines for 2,600 years. There are several wine varieties, such as Beaumes de Venise.

Climate

The climate of Provence is typically sunny and dry, with some rain in the springtime. This makes it an ideal place for growing grapes that can produce a flavorful wine. The climate makes it great for growing Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, and Cinsault grapes.

The region is also known for its rosé wines made predominantly from the Grenache grape under the Côtes de Provence appellation.

When most people think of French wine regions, they automatically think of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild and Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. However, there are more than 350 wineries producing quality wines in France’s Rhone Valley. They include both reds and whites using these grape varieties as well as many others such as Pinot Noir.

Agriculture

In the south of France, sunlight radiates everywhere. The mistral, a dry breeze that clears the sky and dries the air, is another reason why Provence is so bright. It brings a breeze that can assist with chilling down the grapes and drying them after a shower.

The environment in the Provence region is very predictable. Winters on the coast are charming, and summers are blistering. The area of Provence also has a wide range of soil types. Limestone and shale stores can be found close to the Mediterranean shore. Earth and sandstone are more normal farther inland. This type of soil, mixed with the district’s temperature and the mistral, enables the growth of a broad scope of grapes for winemaking.

Grape Varieties and Wineries

Several grape varieties thrive in the Provence wine region, including Rolle, Grenache, and Muscat. The region’s climate is suitable for growing most red and white grapes. The popular international varieties like Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

However, due to historical reasons, only 20% of all planted hectares are dedicated to red grapes (Cinsault and Carignan), while 80% are planted with green or orange varieties. Some grape variety examples in vineyards are white wine like Clairette Blanche and Ugni blanc or red wine like Cinsault, Carignan, and Grenache noir.

Throughout its history, there have been many excellent wineries and vineyards in the Provence wine region. One of these producers was Fournier, which is still producing a wide variety of reds and whites today. Another is Laurent Miquel, a producer who has remained true to tradition by following good quality techniques used centuries ago.

In total, more than 20 distinct grape varieties are grown in Provence. These include Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. While most wines produced here are for domestic consumption (they are very popular in France), exports have steadily increased over recent years. See more articles here

On This Day

  • February 18th, 1855: Napoleon III introduced the classification system in order to identify the best wines in this region.
  • June 15th, 1976: In the ‘Judgement of Paris’ event, California wine beat French wine for the first time.

Reference

[1] https://www.lelongweekend.com/provence-wine-region/

2 https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/food-facts/provence-wine-region.htm

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