The nation of France is a wine-producing powerhouse, with over 8 billion bottles of wine being created in a year. There are hundreds of AVAs, thousands of acres of vineyard, and many, many famous regions throughout the entire country, each one with its own unique niche within the gigantic market.
One of those regions is that of Provence, an area of southeastern France just south of the Alps, that was founded by the Romans and was, in fact, the first Roman province outside of Italy. It’s actually made of smaller areas within the larger region: Cotes de Provence, Bandol, Cassis, Coteaux Varois, Bellet, and Pallet. The slightly different climates and terroirs help to alter each wine enough that makes it distinct and different. Wine has been produced here for over 2,600 years and today, rosé remains its most popular, accounting for over half of the area’s total production.
Conditions for grape-growing are ideal here: mild winters with bright, warm summers with little rainfall and dry Mistral winds, similar to that of a Mediterranean climate. A striking feature of the Provence is the abundance of lavender that is grown here, and it’s an outstanding aroma in many wines produced in the region, along with other aromatic herbs like rosemary, juniper, and thyme.
We know that the most common production method for rosé is through maceration, where the grapes are crushed and the skins are left to ferment in the juice which gives it color, so many of the rosés produced in Provence are from red wines. The most popular grapes grown here are Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, and Tibouren.
One of the reasons Provence has stayed a leader of the rosé industry is the existence of the outstanding Center for Rosé Research. Yes, this is a real thing. It’s a scientific center dedicated to the study and research of rosé, fermentation methods, color study, as well as hosting many educational opportunities for wine producers. Through science and communication, the Center is changing the face of rosé throughout the world and bringing global attention back to Provence.
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