Week 3 of 4 Week France course // Provence
Provence - A brief introduction to the region
In preparation for week 3 of our Online Tour De France we are briefly exploring Provence.
Provence lies on the Mediterranean coast of France, bordered by the Rhone River to the west and the Côte d’Azur on the east.
Whilst Provence produces both Red and White wines its most famed product is Rose. Rosé is king and Queen here and known the world over. Usually, a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Syrah and Counoise, the typical style is considered dry, pale and delicate. For the purposes of this blog and the upcoming tasting we shall focus purely on Rose.
Image from Wine Folly
Provence is blessed with a fantastic climate, especially for grapes! The region has an abundance of sunshine and little rain. The Mediterranean sea to the south moderates the temperatures, coupled with the famous “Mistral”, a strong, cold wind which blows down through the Rhone Valley to the Mediterranean. These factors keep the vineyards dry and the skies clear.
For those who have been following this year's Tour De France, the Grand Départ started in Nice and riders headed west and moved up into the mountains and hills surrounding the city. It is this Geography that gives Provence it’s unquestionable beauty and fantastic grape-growing potential.
Provence is comprised of 9 main regions or AOC (Appellation de’Origin Contrôlée). The most well known is the ‘Côtes de Provence’. This is the largest AOC, and the biggest producer with about 75% of wine production (about 90% is Rosé). This is about half of France’s Rose output. With this in mind quality can vary from supermarket plonk to the highly esteemed Domain Ott.
Notable others include Bandol, famed for full-bodied Red and Cassis celebrated for Ugni Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.
Provence Rose is light and crisp, they'll go with similar food, principally light salads, light pasta and rice dishes, especially with seafood, raw and lightly cooked shellfish and grilled fish and goats' cheeses
Our good Friends at Frenchies Barisierie have paired the Val D’Astier with Terrine de campagne (country terrine) + baguette & Cornichon & chutney