Grape Tours in Provence
Vineyards of Provence
Provence's vineyards are made up of 9 Appellations d'Origine Contrôlée AOC (Designations of Origin). From East to West, from Nice to Baux de Provence we find: - AOC Bellet on the hills overlooking Nice, in the 3 colors (red, white, rosé) with the particularity of incorporating local and unusual grape varieties such as Bracquet, Folle Noire. It is also the only AOC in Provence to authorize Chardonnay in the blending of whites dominated by the Rolle grape (Vermentino in Italy). - AOC Côtes-de-Provence, the largest AOC in Provence: 75% of total production in Provence, it produces 90% of its production in rosé, 7% in red wine and 3% in white wine. It includes 4 delimited geographic zones: AOC Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire, Fréjus, La Londe and Pierrefeu. It is also the only one to benefit from Châteaux Crus Classés since 1955. - AOC Côteaux Varois en Provence, produces mainly rosé wines (88%). It is sandwiched between the AOC Côtes de Provence and the AOC Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire. It has a relatively cool micro-climate with a fairly high altitude, particularly in its northern part, with clay-limestone soils allowing more powerful wines. - AOC Bandol at the gates of Toulon, is one of the oldest production regions in Provence. Although it produces mostly rosés like its neighbors, it is also recognized for these red wines produced mainly from Mourvèdre, planted on terraces open to the sea like an amphitheatre with interspersed walls called restanques. - the AOC Cassis at the foot of the Calanques is distinguished in particular by its production of whites which is for the majority (67%) based in particular on blends of Marsanne and Clairette. - the AOC Palette is the smallest AOC in Provence: only 40 ha essentially known by Château Simone which represents 50% of the vineyard. It is also historically renowned for its Vin Cuit (Cooked Wine). - the AOC Côteaux de Pierrevert is the most recent (1998) and the most northern of the Provence AOCs. It produces 60% rosé, 30% red and 10% white. Please note that Bordeaux grape varieties are prohibited. The wines produced are quite comparable in style to the wines of the southern Rhône Valley. - the AOC Côteaux d'Aix-en-Provence, the second AOC in terms of surface area, under the strong influence of the Mistral wind produces 84% rosé, 11% red and 5% white. The styles of wine are quite heterogeneous. -the AOC Les Baux de Provence, the most western around the Baou des Baux de Provence, is the epicentre of organic and biodynamic wines from Provence, producing mainly red wines with Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre blends. The map below is from Wine Schoolar Guild.