Lavender, rosemary and thyme fills the air, carried by cool Mediterranean breezes gently whistling through the vineyards of one of the world’s most beautiful wine regions, which also happens to be one of the oldest. Provence, France is truly more than a place though, it is a state of mind, with landscapes and ocean scenes inspiring some of the most beloved works of art in the world, as has their cuisine, and of course, their wine. I had a chance to visit Provence recently, traveling as a guest of the Wines of Provence and Wines of France. This morning I shared a little bit about their region, their wines and their lifestyle with the ladies of The Broadcast.
Every element of the region is welcoming, with sun drenched beaches inviting guests to play throughout the summer, with outdoor cafes lining streets, all serving the regions most loved, Rose. But it is not all about tourism, though it is the second most visited spot in France outside of Paris, it is also about the wine.
Wine has been made in Provence for 26 centuries! The Greeks brought the grapevine with them when they settled Marseille. When the Romans settled the region in 2 A.D. they developed the wine industry. And Rose was always a wine that was made in the region, always.
The terroir is ideal for vines. Nutrient poor, well draining limestone and gravel soils are ideal for growing grapes, but not much else. Warm temperatures are kept in check by cooling breezes off the Mediterranean with the Mistral winds blowing in through the mountains to keep vines dry and free of disease in somewhat humid, mid-summer conditions. Fragrant herbs and flowers fill the air, enhancing the wines natural stone fruit, citrus and berry aromas.
The diet is Mediteranean, with French favorites like bouillabaisse and ratatouille calling Provence home. A wonderful new book recently came out co-authored by Francious Milo withI will have more to share on my trip shortly on D Magazine/SideDish, but for now please pick up one of these beautiful wines to enjoy now and throughout the year. Some think Rose is just for the summertime, but with ham, turkey, pork tenderloin, any shellfish or white fish, and of course New Year’s resolution salads, a Rose is the prefect pairing. And if you are drinking Rose, the best will come from the region that has been doing well for so long, Provence.
Domaine Ott – founded over 100 years ago by Marcel Ott determined to make post-phyloxera vineyards appealing, worthy of the incredible history the region held. Their estate vineyards are sustainably farmed in 3 distinct areas, two in Cotes de Provence and one in Bandol, each distinct and each representing the terroir surrounding those vineyards and each of the highest quality. Beautiful, delicate and incredibly elegant. The two above photos are both from their Le Clos Mireille Estate. Domaine Ott Les Domanier Rose 2013 is from the negotiant or buyer/seller portion of the company, sourcing some of the highest quality, old vines in Provence to produce a non-estate Rose meeting the same quality standards of all of their wines. Grenache based with Cinsaut and Syrah.
Anselme Cotes De Provence 2013 – Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, slightly richer and spicier than some, but very refreshing and balanced. Perfect wine for an herb roasted pork tenderloin, and an incredible price – about $10 at Spec’s.
Ch De Berne Impatience Rose Provence 2013 – $18 at Spec’s, Dallas’ favorite Rose from Chateau de Berne, a 1500 acre estate that is also a hotel (ideal for your next get away) 80% Grenache, 20% Cinsaut filled with golden apple, lemon and orange zest and soft herbs. Perfect with octopus, asparagus or artichokes (typically a difficult pairing.)
Ch Garcinieres Rose De Provence 2013 – Château Les Garcinières dates back to 1748 located near lavish St. Tropez, started by monks, as many wineries and vineyards were throughout Europe, but owned since 1898 by the Valentin family. Made of 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsaut and 10% Rolle filled with strawberries, cherries and citrus fruits.
Domaine de Triennes Rose 2013 – from the owners of Domaine Dujac and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti who joined together to found their Provence estate in the 1980’s, located northeast of Marseille, entire estate on a south-facing slope, was rich in limestone and low in nutrients, excellent for viticulture, creating freshness, vibrancy and balance in their red berry and cherry filled Rose. $18 at Spec’s