Partial to a crisp glass of rosé on a summer day? Well it seems you’re not the only one! The popularity of rosé wine has exploded in recent years, with the French region of Provence at the forefront of this exciting trend.
But did you know that, while sales have boomed in the noughties, Provence has been famed for its rosé wines since the ancient Greeks arrived in the South of France around 2,600 years ago?
Once dismissed by some as a not particularly serious wine, rosé is proving the doubters wrong and winning over a new generation of wine lovers with consistently great wines.
So what makes Provence wine so special?
Almost 90% of all the wine produced in Provence is rosé, and with thousands of years of winemaking know-how, it’s no wonder they really know what they’re doing. But it doesn’t just take experience to make great wine - producers are also blessed with a bunch of natural advantages in Provence.
Firstly the Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing grapes. The region is warm and sunny, with very little rain, which means that Provence can produce ripe and healthy grapes, without having to worry about the various diseases that can affect vines in damper, cooler climates.
Another important feature of the Provençal climate is the Mistral, a cold wind from the North which cools the region and this, combined with altitude, means that the wines maintain their crisp acidity and lip smacking freshness.
The soil also has a part to play in determining the unique character of Provence rosé. The west of the region, towards Côteaux d’Aix en Provence, is generally dominated by limestone soil, which gives the wine its characteristic crisp acidity. Further east, in Côtes de Provence AOC, schist or granite soils prevail which add to the minerality of the wines.
Provence rosé is characterised by its pale pink colour (sometimes with an orange or salmon hue), refreshing acidity and delicate fruit flavours of grapefruit and red berry fruits.
Like most rosé wine, it gets its colour from leaving the red grape skins in contact with the juice so that they impart their colour and flavour. In Provence, this maceration takes place over just a few hours, giving their rosé its signature pale hue that looks so light and refreshing.
Provence rosé is often made from a blend of grapes, usually typical Southern French varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan. Some producers also use Cabernet Sauvignon, although it needs to be treated with care and doesn’t always ripen quickly enough in this cooler region.
Enjoying Provence rosé
There’s nothing like a super chilled glass of pale rosé on a warm day, but it’s not just a simple summer drink. It is increasingly enjoyed all year round and is a surprisingly versatile partner to a range of foods.
Of course, it’s great with traditional summer fayre, such as salads, as it has the acidity and structure to stand up to the tricky match of tomatoes, avocados and even eggs. It’s also fantastic with simple seafood and fish dishes, like grilled prawns or poached salmon. A light touch of spice can work well too, for example salads with an asian influence or satay.
With such a prestigious history, and a well deserved reputation for high quality, isn’t it time you got on board with the rosé trend? Start by exploring our range of delicious Provence rosés and you’ll soon know what all the fuss is about.