It’s taken a while but I’ve finally managed to write this blog about the reconnaissance trip I made in October for my 2018 Provence wine tours.
Decades of TV series have educated us on how stunning the landscape is. Forests, hills, picturesque villages and beautiful manicured and more rustic vineyards – it is the picture postcard place that so many dream of for an idyllic lifestyle.
From a wine perspective Provence is rarely considered to be a serious region, but has much to offer. While it is true that a very significant volume of production is pink, Provence has some seriously high quality wines to offer in every colour category.
Gone are the days when the general experience of Provence rosé was a bottle brought back home from holiday that just didn’t quite taste the same when cracked open on a November evening. Provence rosé is now big business – and a premium business at that, as demand exceeds supply for flagships such as Whispering Angel. It sells at a price that would not have been conceived possible ten years ago, and I am really looking forward to visiting the impressive Chateau d’Esclans winery in the Côtes de Provence and learning more about its story.
Bandol is a fascinating appellation very close to the sea, just east of Marseille, and producing serious long lived reds from the unfashionable Mourvèdre grape. At Domaine de l’Estagnol we should get the chance to go back through older vintages to explore this further. We will also explore the mineral rich whites from Bourboulenc and Clairette.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah also play an important role in many reds to the west of Aix-en-Provence with the top estates charging serious money for the long-lived wines. Château Beaulieu has grown vines since Roman times and occupies a glorious setting in the heart of an ancient volcanic crater, and produces some seriously good rosé, red and white wines in the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence appellation. In Baux de Provence I hope we will visit the biodynamic estate Chateau Romanin, whose reds and whites based on southern Rhone varietals are stunning – sadly proprietor Jean-Louis Charmolüe has recently died.
We will be staying in the historic and picturesque Aix and I am really excited about getting more familiar with its bars and restaurants – Provence cuisine combines the glorious fresh rustic produce with elegance and innovation in its gastronomy.
What you can expect from the Provence Wine Tour?
Even if you are familiar with Provence, you will be in for a surprise. Over three full days of winery and vineyard visits we will discover there is so much more to rosé and so more to Provencal wine as we explore top class wines, learn about how they evolve, and enjoy them in the context of the fabulous regional cuisine. Our four nights in the centre of Aix will allow for a thorough exploration of this beautiful city, while our daily journeys out will allow us to enjoy the exquisite countryside. And of course we will meet the winemakers who are putting this regions firmly onto the fine wine map. Please find out more…