A travel guide to Provence in France focused on some of the major wine-growing areas and wineries.
We are officially into summer and temperatures are starting to soar here in Europe. If you have not done so already, it is the time to turn to rosé wines.
Even though Europe is slowly starting to open for travel again, flights are still limited and honestly, I do not yet feel ready to board a plane. Therefore, this year I will only be able to dream of a visit to Provence. As a bit of consolidation, I have stocked up on lovely rosé wines from Provence.
The unrivalled centre of rosé wines, Provence in the south of France is more diverse in landscapes and local produce then you might think of.
From the French riviera to small, historic hilltop villages, rolling hills, the vast plains of the Camargue, vineyards, olive groves and lavender fields. There is such an abundance of incredible places and things to do and see.
Summer in Provence for me is invariably linked to bright blue skies, the chirping of crickets and the scents of blooming flowers and herbs, whilst all year round the area boasts one of the most exciting cuisines in the world.
It is no secret that a region with excellent cuisine typically offers excellent wines as well. Or was it the other way round? Well, no matter what, Provence proofs this saying right. The region over the past few decades has owned itself a name for producing amongst the best rosé wines in the world.
About Provence rosé wine
The range of rosé wines produced across Provence is quite large, and they come in many different shades from ultra-pale to dark pink. There is however some common ground: relatively low in alcohol, most are made from a blend of Grenache (typically the dominating grape) Cinsault, and Syrah, occasionally also including the local Mourvèdre grape.
Pairing rosé wine with food
Rosé is a wine that pairs exceptionally well with a wide range of food, especially anything you would like to eat on a warm day. From appetizers like melon and ham or olives to pasta, chicken, lamb, salmon, lobster, fried and grille fish and veggie dishes.
Visiting the excellent wineries of Provence – 7 rosé wines from Provence you need to try
There are over 430 wineries in the Provence producing rosé wines, so it is really hard to decide where to start.
If you are planning a trip through Provence to explore local wineries, I definitely recommend to check out the official site of Route des vines de Provence, the wine route of Provence wineries. There are lots of great recommendations.
As for some of the most outstanding wineries and rosé wines, below I am listing just a few of my current favourites from different parts of Provence.
Pink Flamingo Tete de Cuvée, Domaines de Jarras – Camargue
The beautiful Camargue is perhaps best known for its wild horses and large herds of pink flamingos.
The region is located just west of Marseille and consists in large parts of a nature reserve home to more than 400 bird species, along with many species of insects.
In fact, the Camargue is Europe’s largest river delta, featuring large lagoons, sandbanks and reed-covered marshes.
Located just next to Aigues-Mortes, Domaines de Jarras with some 2,400 hectares is one of the biggest wineries in France. However, only around 1,100 hectares are planted to vines whilst the remaining are part of the nature reserve.
Sable de Camargue is a protected geographic origin and wines from this area are known for their extremely low acidity.
The Pink Flamingo rosé is made predominantly of Grenache with a small quantity of Cinsault and Carignan grapes added.
The wine boasts a lovely pale salmon colour. On the nose, it offers delicate notes of berries, peach and apricot whilst on the palate, there is a definite taste of strawberries and grapefruit.
Domaine Terres de Sable, Nuits bleues – Camargue
The fairly young Domain Terres de Sable is located close to the region’s capital, Aigues-Mortes and one of the area’s wineries which follows a 100% organic wine production.
Made of Grenache Gris, the Nuits bleues comes in a light salmon shade and on the nose offers aromas of red berries, melon, and honey.
It is a very refreshing, light rosé that pairs well to a range of food including pasta, vegetarian dishes, fish along with finger-food and snacks.
Whispering Angel, Chateau d’Esclans – Cotes de Provence
Located in the eastern part of Provence, Cotes de Provence stretches from the hills close to Draguignan right down to the coastal town of Saint Tropez. Thus the area is a blend of rolling hills, vineyards and the famous French Rivera.
Cotes de Provence is the largest wine appellation of Provence, producing around 75% of all wines from Provence.
Touring the area, there are many excellent wineries to discover of which Chateau d’Esclans is just one.
Other attractions not to be missed is the beautiful historic hilltop town of Grimaud, just outside of Saint Tropez. It boasts the ruins of an 11th century castle which can be reached climbing the small, steep cobble-stoned streets of the little town with colourful old houses.
Saint Tropez itself is the very notorious beach village of the rich and glamorous. During the summer months, it is cramped with tourists, spotting one of the highest densities of VIP’s on summer vacation around the world.
Other than VIP-spotting and admiring the huge luxury yachts anchoring in the harbour, there are many other things to be discovered here. Worth seeing are 18th-century Eglise de Notre-Dame de l’Assomption boasting a beautiful Italian Baroque bell tower, Palais des Bailli Pierre-André de Suffren, Musée de l’Annonciade (the Art Museum), the old citadel, built in the early 1600s towering high above the town, or hiking the scenic seaside path Sentier du Littoral along the coastline.
As for Chateau d’Esclans, the estate is located near the Gorges de Pennafort to the north-west of ancient Roman city Frejus.
The winery’s flagship rosé Whispering Angel is made primarily of Grenache, with small portions of Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan and Vermentino. It is a light salmon colour and offers notes of citrus, peach and orange blossom.
M Minuty rosé special edition, Chateau Minuty – Cotes de Provence
The beautiful Chateau Minuty is located close to Saint Tropez, in the small town of Gassin on the Saint Tropez Peninsular, perched high up on the hill, offering beautiful views over the nearby sea and the rolling hills of the Provence hinterland extending all the way from Iles D’Or, the Maures Mountains and the snow-capped Alps in the distance.
Though Chateau Minuty is looking back at more than eighty years, the estate boasts a modern look whilst the bottles are stylish and funky.
The wine range includes white, red and rosé wines whilst the various rosé are obviously the leading ones.
Looking for a rosé, and already familiar with the M rosé variety, I immediately fell for the branded limited edition of M rosé. Simply looking at the bottle already evokes joyful images of easy summer life by the pool or the beach.
The M rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah that boasts a light pinkish colour. On the nose, there are aromas of intense orange peel and red currents. On the palate, it offers a crisp and fresh flavour.
Domaine Pouvrel Louis rosé – Cotes de Provence
Domaine Pouvrel is another one of the many that comes from the region’s main appellation, the large Cotes de Provence.
The winery is one of the few not openly accessible by visitors. It is part of the Gasquet-Pascaud family and located in the vicinity of Saint Tropez.
However, the elegant Louis rosé is one well worth adding to your shopping list.
As most of Provence rosé wines, it is made predominantly with Grenache, with a small quantity of Cinsault. It offers notes of red berries, especially raspberry and cherry along with slight hints of herbs and is a perfect match to a large range of food including meat, poultry, shellfish and vegetarian dishes.
Chateau de L’Aumérade, L’origine rosé – Cotes de Provence
Located close to Pierrefeu-du-Var, between mountains and the sea, Chateau de L’Aumérade looks back at a history that started in the 1st century AD whilst it belongs to the Fabre family only since 1932. Back then, the family was among the founders of todays Cote de Provence wines.
The beautiful estate offers various packages of wine tastings, including tours of the property.
Around 85% of the wines produced by Chateau de L’Aumérade are rose. The excellent L’origine comes in a pale rosé with notes of lytchee and white peach whilst on the palate it is well balanced.
Cuvée Fontenille rosé, Domaine de Fontenille – Luberon
If you follow my blog, you will know, I love a winery that doubles as a luxury hotel.
Domaine de Fontenille, located in one of the most beautiful angles of Provence, the Luberon, not only makes excellent wines. The estate’s luxury hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant are just perfect for any wine lover.
In addition, the Luberon is one of the most spectacular areas of Provence. Here you will find the gorgeous hilltop villages of Ansouis, Bonnieux, Cadenet, Caseneuve, Gordes, Lourmarin, Murs, Roussillon and Viens among others.
The winery looks back to a history that started in 1638, but today is one of the local wine farms that follows a strictly organic wine production. This includes harvesting grapes at night to avoid oxidation.
The wine range is limited, featuring two red wines, the Cuvée rosé and two whites.
The Cuvée rosé is made of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault and 10% Mourvèdre.
On the nose, there are slight notes of citrus, red berries, strawberry and lychee. On the palate, it has a very fruity sensation.
Have you been to Provence yet? Which part of the area did you visit – and what are your favourite rosé wines from the region?