La vie en rosé: savour the flavours of Provence without leaving home.
Nov 23, 2022 2:10am
Like something out of a postcard, the idyllic landscapes of Provence swing from summer-flowering lavender fields to the Southern Alps, rolling vineyards, and the glittering coastline of the French Riviera.
But a visit to south-eastern France is more than a visual treat. As the oldest wine region in France and the cradle of dry rosé, Provence blends the pleasures of the eyes and the palate.
Like all wines, rosés are site sensitive. In Provence, the diverse terroir, multitude of grape varieties, and Mediterranean climate (of which sunshine is the typical characteristic) has made the region a unique location for producing dry, light, and aromatic rosés.
And with nearly 90 per cent of the region’s capacity devoted to producing the pale pink wine, it’s no wonder rosé is Provençal winemakers’ speciality.
A crisp glass of rosé — paired with salty, raw oysters or a summer salad — is a popular drop du jour when the mercury rises. But the seemingly modern wine is steeped in a long and rich history.
The Greeks planted the first grapevines in Provence over 2,600 years ago, when the locals crushed grapes together in clay vessels. Now, the wine capital is home to nearly 600 rosé producers across three appellations (using far more advanced techniques).
Spread between the Mediterranean and the Alps, this diverse terroir ranges from volcanic rock and granite in the east to limestone-veined soil in the west — shaping Provence wines’ distinct and striking flavour profiles.
PERFECT PICK: When selecting a bottle of rosé wine, search the label for one of the three major appellations in Provence: Côtes de Provence, Coteaux Varois en Provence and Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence.
Like Provence itself, rosé is just as easy on the eyes as the palate. Identify Provence rosé for its bright colour, fluctuating from pale pink to vivid mandarin. This beautiful colour emerges from the winemaking process (how long the skins and the juice are in contact, and at what temperature) and the vinification method.Direct press produces low-intensity shades of wine, from light peach to mango flesh. Au contraire, cold skin maceration yields wines with more sustained colours like pomelo pink and redcurrant red.
PERFECT PICK: No matter the colour intensity, Provence rosés will all be dry and aromatic with fresh, fruit-forward flavours.
Rosé is synonymous with long days by the pool, weekend drinks, shared alfresco dinners, and balmy summer nights. Its simplicity aligns with the French joie de vivre, making it an ideal accompaniment to every event from a casual aperitif to fine dining.Whether serving to guests or ordering at a bar, match a glass with a cheeseboard or Mediterranean flavours like pissaladière, tapenade, anchovy paste, and focaccia.
Sharing a bottle is just as much about the experience as the taste; in Provence, wine culture goes beyond the glass with guided tastings, vineyard tours and immersive experiences like accommodation in a vineyard or open-air concerts amidst the grapevines. PERFECT PICK: Serve Provence wines rosés chilled, between 8° and 10° C, in a large, stemmed glass to preserve the temperature and aromas.
Whilst rosé has a storied past, Provençal winemakers are looking to the future; as organic wine rises the ranks, the region’s winemakers are following suit. They’ve set a goal to be 100 per cent organic or HVE (High Environmental Value) by 2030, with many already working toward biodynamic certification. Salut to that!