The south of France is gifted with so many wonderful things. A rich history and stunning landscapes, a beautiful climate and green and fertile lands.
This area produces a wealth of things, not least of which is the wine of Cote de Provence. Experts say that this area has been producing wine for 2,300 years, all thanks to the arrival of the Phoenicians and their vines.
The appellation covers the region from the west of Marseilles to St Raphael in the east, however the area is known as The Var.
The Cotes de Provence wines are mostly famous for their rose wines, however their light and fresh wines and rich, full bodied reds are also pretty impressive.
The region which surrounds Cannes is very well suited to wine production due to its well-drained soil and the favourable climate which is hot but not humid thanks to the cool Mistral wind that blows down from the Alps mountain range. The variety of landscapes in Provence means that each terroir is subtly different. The terroir is the exact ground on which vine are grown- unique in their soil composition and geographical situation. There are dozens of grape varieties which can be grown in this part of the world which results in production of many distinctive wines.
- Ugni Blanc – Originating in Italy, this white grape makes dry acidic wines.
- Rolle – Produces full bodies, fruity white wine.
- Clairette – An ancient Provence variety, this grape produces fragrant and fruity white wines.
- Semillon – A small amount of Semillon adds smoothness and richness to blends.
Main Red Grapes
- Grenache – Produces fruit light red wines.
- Tobouren – A delicate red grape with a rich bouquet.
- Syrah (Shiraz) produces full bodied red wines with hints of spice, vanilla and red berries.
- Cinsault – A local and prolific red grape with sweet, berry flavours. It is used in blends to make rose.
- Carignan – Widely used to blend wines, a high yielding vine rich in tannins with hints of red berries.
- Cabernet Sauvignon – It is used to help age red wines. A small amount is grown in Provence.
- Mourverde – This grape adds structure and smoothness to blends, producing deep purple wines.
The wine maker blends proportions of the grapes that they grow on the terroir to ensure that the final products quality meets the requirements of the AOC (appellations d’origin controlee)
Depending on the harvest the proportions may change, the goal is to produce a consistent wine each year.
The reds of Provence are young, fruity and fresh and are great to accompany bbq meats. The best quality red wines can keep many years and make great partners for French cheeses and game, when maturity is reached. The rose of Provence have a fresh aroma, light and fruity and beautifully rounded on the palette and is pale pink in colour.
If you prefer white wine try the Provencal, grown near the coast for a gentle and aromatic experience, or for a more robust example try a wine from inland.
In the past 10 years rose wines has undergone a rise in interest and is now known as the ‘de rigueur’ drink for the summer. The pale pink roses of Provence have become the consumers choice, lighter than red and less sharp than white.
There are many Cannes vineyards which are definitely worth a visit and there are several outlets where you can try all the varieties of local wines that are produced.