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Vin de France (Provence) Wine

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* Vins de Provence*

The wine-growing area of French Provence covers 26 680 hectares corresponding to three departments, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and a commune of the Alps-Maritimes. There are 623 private and cooperative producers and more than 100 companies operating in this territory.

The area's annual production is 1,317,970 hectolitres of which 7% are red wines, 89% are rosé wines and 4% are white wines. The main markets to which wines from Provence are exported are the United States, the United Kingdom and Belgium.

Within the production of Provence wines there are three denominations of origin (DO), DO Côtes de Provence, DO Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence and DO Coteaux Varois en Provence.

History

When the focidios founded what is now Marseille more than two thousand years ago, they introduced the cultivation of the vine in the current French territory, making Provence the first wine-growing area in France. From that moment, and with all the changes that took place over more than two millennia, the production of wine remained present in these lands.

Centuries after the arrival of the focidio, in 200 B.C. the Roman people settled in the area founding the Roman Province, which would later be known as Provence. The Roman was a society for which wine was an important component, so it not only continued with cultivation and production, but also introduced new grape varieties and made the wine trade grow.

During the Middle Ages, vine growing boomed as local abbeys produced and marketed wine between the 5th and 12th centuries. Later, in the XIV** century the families of the French nobility and the great officers of the Royal Navy acquired important quantities of vineyards, thus beginning the production of wine in modernity France.

Like the rest of the country and of Europe, the vineyards of Provence had to fight their battle against the terrible phylloxera epidemic of 1880. Producers in the area were not going to surrender easily and found a good **solution to the problem, they grafted French vines on American vines resistant to phylloxera - which is an American parasite. Thanks to hard work with the grafts, the region was able to recover.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, winegrowers decided to join forces and knowledge in order to better face the problems, thus initiating the movement of cooperatives. The struggle to obtain the AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) or DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) for Provençal producers also began. In 1977, the AOC Côtes de Provence was officially recognised; in 1985, the AOC Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence and, in 1993, the AOC Coteaux Varois en Provence**.

Appellations of Origin of Provence
  • AOC Côtes de Provence

The territory of the AOC Côtes de Provence is located in a dream landscape that extends over three French departments -84 communes-, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône and a village in the Alps-Maritimes.

The vineyards cover a total of 20,100 hectares with a maximum yield of 55 hl/ha.The soil has a complex geology that is excellent for winemaking. The northern and western lands are characterized by a landscape of alternating hills and limestone crests sculpted by erosion. Further east, facing the sea, are the Maures and Tanneron mountain ranges. Due to the variety of terrains, the AOC is divided into four production subzones:

  • Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire. * Côtes de Provence Fréjus. * Côtes de Provence La Londe. * Côtes de Provence Pierrefeu.The grapes allowed for the production of wines are red and white:

  • Reds: cinsault, garnacha, mourvèdre, syrah and tibouren. * White: clairette, vermentino, semillón and ugni blanc. * Additional: carignan and cabernet sauvignon.These grapes are used to make wines:

  • White: predominantly vermentino, pale yellow with green hues. They are wines with strong fruity aromas (pears, exotic fruits, pineapple and citrus), with delicate notes of flowers, mint and sage. In the mouth they are fresh, rounded and full-bodied.* Reds: balanced ruby or purple wines, with fresh fruity notes (cherries, berries, strawberries and blackcurrants) and rounded tannins. For these wines, wooden barrels are used to enhance their flavor and add vanilla notes. Rosés: salmon colour with occasional pink reflections thanks to the maturity of the polyphenols. They are expressive wines with good aromatic potential and alcoholic richness.

AOC Coteaux d'Aix-en-ProvenceThe AOC Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence extends from the river Durenza to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Rhône Valley in the west to Mount Sainte-Victoire in the east and produces with a maximum yield of 60 hl/ha.

The climate of the region is strongly marked by the Mistral, with cold and dry winds from the north and low annual rainfall. The soils are mostly calcareous clay, stony or gravel.The grapes allowed for the production of wines are red and white:

  • Tintas: cinsault, garnacha, counoise, mourvèdre y syrah.* Blancas: vermentino.* Adicionales: clairette, garnacha B, ugni blanc, semillón, bourboulenc, carignan y cabernet sauvignon.

These grapes are used to make wines:

  • White: delicate and, at the same time, expressive and powerful. Full-bodied and rounded in the mouth and with a complex nose characterized by citrus and floral aromas.* Reds: ruby or purple in colour, with a complex nose characterized by notes of black fruits. In the mouth are powerful and structured with a long finish. * Pink: pale pink with light blue or gray tones. These wines are more fruity than floral, generally intense and with a very expressive nose.

AOC Coteaux Varois en ProvenceThe AOC Coteaux Varois en Provence is located in the heart of calcareous Provence. In its narrow basins and valleys production is limited to 28 communes grouped around Brignoles, former home of the Count of Provence. It is distinguished by its steep mountains that reach more than a thousand metres in the Sainte-Baume chain.

The climate of the region is continental and the rocks of the mountain ranges protect the plantations from maritime influences. Autumns are temperate and springs alternate with torrid summers and cold, harsh winters. The soils are calcareous or limestone with some areas of fine gravel and flint.The grapes allowed for the production of wines are red and white:

  • Red: cinsault, garnacha, mourvèdre and syrah * Whites: clairette, vermentino, garnacha blanca and semillón * Additional: tibouren, carignan and cabernet sauvignon.

These grapes are used to make wines:

  • White: wines with floral aromas with notes of exotic fruits. Balanced natural freshness * Reds: made with grapes from the vineyards that enjoy the best climate. They are moderately powerful with aromas of fresh red fruit.* Rosés: pale pink with aromas of fresh fruit thanks to the good ripeness of the grapes.

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