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The wines of Provence are as delicious as they are varied. You can find crisp whites, rich reds, and floral rosés in this sun-kissed region. The most well-known, however, are the Provençal rosés. So famous are these wines, that it’s not known if they were influenced by the local cuisine, or if it was the food that was influenced by the wine. Either way, the garlic-rich dishes in Provence partner perfectly with the sweet, blushed wines. After a day of cycling in the blissful Provençal sun, there is absolutely nothing better than a cold glass of rosé. And in the evening, the flavoursome whites and reds are the perfect dinnertime treat. If you want to discover more about the wonderful wines of this region, read on.
Provence is predominantly known for its delicate rosé wines, although the region does also produce fine red and white wines. There is a truly ancient wine history here; the region is estimated to have been producing wine since the ancient Greeks founded the city of Massalia in 600 BC, now known as the city of Marseille. Since then, Romans, Gauls, Catalans and Savoyards have each influenced the viticulture of Provence, creating a unique and thriving winemaking industry. As such, the grape varieties of Provence have origins from all over the Mediterranean, including Italian, Spanish and Greek varieties. The soil in the region is also varied, with no one defining bedrock. All these factors make the winemaking scene one of France’s most varied.
The perfumed air of Provence is only in part due to the perfumeries that dot the region, and mostly thanks to the fields and fields of blooming lavender. The vibrant lavender fields of the region are best visited in June and July when they are blooming, providing a romantic contrast to the garrigue landscape. The delicate purple flowers mimic the delicate flavours of Provençal rosé wine. Soft, and boasting an aroma that reminds you of summer evenings, the pale, dry rosé of the region perfectly pairs with the authentic cuisine that is also produced here. When you’re pottering from one Provençal village to the other don’t miss out on trying a colourful bowl of ratatouille or a serving of salted cod with aioli and boiled potatoes.
The climate of Provence is classically Mediterranean, with many agreeing that the region is perhaps the poster child for it. Thanks to the sea to the south, the weather is never extreme, featuring mild winters and very warm summers. Sunshine is one of Provence’s largest attractions, giving the grapes more than 3,000 hours of photosynthesis a year. This is actually more than twice what the vines need, ensuring a bountiful harvest and glorious vintage each year. This blessing is often a curse, however, as vineyard owners who are not cautious run the risk of their grapes over-ripening. Although the popular cabernet sauvignon can be grown in the region, many traditional winemakers are not enthused by the idea, claiming that Provencal wines shouldn’t try and be the most popular; they believe the vintages would lose their uniqueness.
Our Starry Nights in Provence tour will take you on a cultural journey through the most beautiful regions of Provence; from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where Van Gogh created his ‘The Starry Night’ masterpiece, to the imposing castles of Tarascon and the serene Canal du Rhône of Beaucaire. The landscape is incredibly diverse; around Vaucluse, there are dramatic gorges and valleys and the ‘Giant of Provence’, Mont Ventoux, which can be seen in most Provençal backgrounds. Take in the atmosphere of Arles or enjoy one of the many views from the spectacular Les Baux-de-Provence. This rocky haven is set in a striking position in the Alpilles mountains and was voted one of the most beautiful villages in France. Here, you can sample the many wines that are produced in the surrounding vineyards and soak up the amazing panoramic views.
When visiting Provence, wine tasting is all but a legal requirement. With so many vineyards in the region, it can be hard to know where to go. On our Picture Postcard Provence tour, you’ll get the chance to visit the gorgeous Chateau Romanin and its extensive vines. Run by couple Anne-Marie and Jean-Louis Charmolüe, their meticulous care of the estate has meant the vineyards are bursting with grapes, and the wine cellars are full. Red and rosé wines are made here and boast a distinctive flavour that they describe as ‘finessed’. A wine tasting at this vineyard is the only way to truly experience this.
Our Côtes du Rhône Vineyards tour explores the largest winemaking area in Provence. Whilst on this tour, you’ll stop off at Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which features a gorgeous castle surrounded by vineyards. Whilst staying at your hotel, Château de fines Roche, you’ll have the chance to taste some of the white wine created here. The bold flavour pairs perfectly with the local cheeses, for a truly magical flavour experience. There’s just something so enchanting about the combination of wine and cheese, field and vine, that encapsulates the appeal of France. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine grows from soil that is mainly composed of red clay and rolled pebbles. As such, the wines develop good ageing potential and a rich aroma.
Provence is synonymous with rosé wines. Bottled Provençal sunsets, a glass of rosé is the perfect partner to warm evenings and good company. When visiting Les-Baux-de-Provence on The Provençal Experience tour, you can enjoy a wine tasting at Mas de la Dame, found at the foot of the iconic hilltop village. The rosé produced at these vineyards is tender and often described as ‘bashful’ in flavour. The Provençal winemakers are nothing if not eccentric. You’ll instantly notice the delicate, floral aroma that dances with ripe strawberries, blackcurrant buds and fresh mint. This is the perfect rosé to accompany a sunlit lunch or a dinner beneath the stars.
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