Pierre Hourlier Wines

Posted on June 07, 2016 by Alex Fairlie | 0 comments

Cotes de Provence - The Land of Pale Rosé


© CIVP/F.Millo

Provence is the oldest wine growing region in France (it is thought the Greeks settled in Marseille establishing a vineyard in the 5th century BC),  has many exciting producers and is a fantastic place to discovery through it's wine, food and scenery.

Located between the Mediterranean and the Alps, the Provence Wine region extends over approximately 200 kms (120 miles) in the south eastern part of France, primarily in the French departments of the Var, Bouches-du-Rhône and, to a lesser extent, in the Alpes-Maritimes. The region includes a variety of small to large Appellations including famous names Cassis, Bandol, Bellet, Pierrevert and Coteaux Varois en Provence.

Provence's vineyards stretch from Arles in the West to Nice in the East. Provence is known for its extremely varied landscape, its gusty  and its hot, sunny and dry climate, which give the region's wines their unique character known throughout the world. This part of France is also famous for the gusty 'Mistral' wind, which plays a great part in growing the grapes for Provence wine production.

© CIVP/F.Millo
© CIVP/F.Millo

Provence is famous for it's pale, fruity and  full bodied rosé wines for which there is great demand. Of  approximately 170 million bottles produced each year in Provence,  88% of these are rosé, and Provence is France's largest producer of AOC rosé wines.

Made largely from the Grenache grape, rosé has become known and loved throughout the world due to it's ability to match all occasions. Rosé wines are  now wildly popular in France and internationally. Traditionally, rosé wines have been paired with Provencal and Mediterranean cuisine but rosé lovers have found that it can complement both lighter and heavier foods, with many chefs serving rosé alongside a world-wide selection of food. Provençal citizens know from centuries of winegrowing history that vin rosé pairs with virtually anything, all year round. Particularly in the coastal Provence region, the heart of the world’s dry rosé production, a passion for dry pink permeates the culture.

Although Provence rosés, as with any other type of wine, will differ in colour, aroma and taste, Provencal rosés will have similar characteristics - they are usually to be drunk young, and are fresh, crisp and bright on the palate. In contrast to American blush wines which are sweet with a much higher content of residual sugar, Provençal rosés are drier and, by definition, not sweet.

As well as rosé, white and red grapes are also grown in Provence, and Provence represents 6% of French AOC production for all types of wine - from the full flavoured reds of Bandol to the  light bodied whites of Pierrevert. The contrasting styles of wine, produced by some 600 winemakers across the region, are quite extraordinary. 

Chateau Rousset Chateau Rousset, located to the East of Avignon.

Chateau Rousset from Haute-Provence in the recently formed AOC of Pierrevert has wines that are very distinct in character. What makes Chateau Rousset's wines so unique is that they consist of both Rhone and Provençal qualities. 

The reds made with Syrah and Grenache have an underling power of depth as in many Rhone wines, yet they still have a distinct and elegant but lighter fresh fruit element as noticed in high altitude Provençal wines.

Chateau La Calisse Chateau La Calisse, located North East of Marseille

The organic vineyard of Chateau La Calisse is run with panache and dedication by the charismatic Patricia Ortelli. The whole estate was acquired and renovated in the early ‘nineties, and is now a leading estate in Provence. The yearly production is small and the wines are much sought after.

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