This is part 5 in a series about the French wine regions – most of which were featured in the GotSaga article named “10 Top Wine Destinations in France“, where we went through the most famous regions with a few tips on where to go and what to do in each region. Because of the response from that article, we dive a bit deeper here.
Sea, sun, art, museums, fruit, vegetables and wine is just a start to what you find in the Provence region. Being close to Nice and Marseille by the Mediterranean coast, there are many types of places to visit if you want a more varied trip. Of course, since I don’t want to bore you with writing about the French riviera, beautiful beaches and valleys, since this is all about the wine places.
Since the 1980’s, the region has seen a surge of people coming in from other countries and French regions, and among the wine growers you have a mix of Germans, English, Scottish, Belgians, Dutch, Swedes, Danes and Americans beside the native French – probably a more diverse environment than any other in the country, which actually led to vast improvements in the taste of wine made here. The immigrants also brought an environment friendly view to the local wine growing, which is also noticed in the quality and character of the wines made here. In Provence you will find a great deal of Rosé wine – with 80% of production and great popularity among the tourists of the Riviera. However, the reds are still the heroes of the region, with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cabernet Sauvignon being popular varietals.
One of the most beautiful landscapes to visit in Provence is Les Alpilles, where the white mountains are cut through by valleys and form an amazing contrast to the azure blue sky. The vineyards are surrounded by pine trees and wild herbal flora, suitable for an area warmer and more moist than other places in Provence – which in turn leads to the wines maturing faster than elsewhere. One of the first bio-dynamic vineyards was created here by Noël Michelin in 1968.
If you want to see a place deemed as one of the few in the world to be almost perfect for making wine, then you should go to Bandol, which was one of the first wine growing areas on the northern side of the Mediterranean, dating back to 600 BC.