I caught up with the irrepressible Nathan Nolan at the Foodies Festival at Hampton Court recently. I asked him to try and explain the Provence wine region in 60 seconds, and I reckon he did a pretty good job!
Provence is known for its extremely varied landscape, its gusty “Mistral” winds, and its hot, sunny and dry climate, which give the region’s wines their unique character known throughout the world. To understand Provence’s wines, you must first understand all the different parts that make up the whole.
Located between the Mediterranean and the Alps, Provence’s vineyards extend West to East over approximately 200 kms (120 miles), primarily in the French departments of the Var, Bouches-du-Rhône and, to a lesser extent, in the Alpes-Maritimes.
Each year, 600 winemakers (540 private and 60 cooperative wineries) and 72 buyers/sellers (négociants) produce approximately 170 million bottles (88% rosé, 9% red and 3% white) over a total land area of 27,000 hectares. Provence represents 6% of French AOC production for all types of wines. Provence is France’s largest producer of AOC rosé wines, representing 38% of domestic production and 8% of the world’s total rosé wine production.
Provence is recognized historically as a producer of rosé wines that are pale, fruity and full bodied. But the region’s wineries also produce reds that are no less remarkable – powerful and structured wines that can be aged several years – and delicate whites known for their lightness and subtlety.