The Provence wine region in the southeast of France is extremely underrated. Most people hear Provence and think of olive trees and lavender fields.
However, there are many vineyards and unique wineries in Provence. For over 2600 years, the area has been producing some incredible red and white wines.
Approximately 88 percent of the region produces rosé, though there are plenty of other varietals to look forward to as well.
The white wine grapes include Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Clairette, Rolle, and Roussanne to name a few.
The red grapes that are typically used for Provence red wines are Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Syrah,
The Provence AOC’s
When it comes to wines, Provence has nine defined wine regions (AOC’s) that make it possible to identify the characteristics of the wine due to climate, soil, and geography.
Cotes de Provence: This diverse region is the largest, producing approximately 75 percent of the wine. The Cotes de Provence contains four sub-regions to include Sainte-Victoire with its limestone soil, La Londe with its quartz soil, Frejus with its volcanic soils, and Pierrefeu with its shale soils, home to wild fennel.
Bandol: This region offers bold reds that are rich and intense along with whites blended with Clairette. The marl and limestone soils add flavor.
Cassis: White limestone cliffs characterize this region. It’s well-known for white wines that have aromas of honey, peach, and dried herbs.
Palette: The Romans planted vineyards in the clay and limestone soils here beginning in 100 BC. Now, there is Mourvedre in rosé and red varietals alone with white blends that are aging at least eight months prior to their release.
Les Baux de Provence: This region is the hottest with rugged terrain, making it difficult to grow anything but grapes. It’s a predominantly red wine region.
Coteaux d’Aix en Provence: This region is the second in size with rosé and various red varietals in production.
Coteaux de Pierrevert: This is the newest of the AOCs with a Rhone influence. Rosé is supreme, though various red varietals are in place. The rule here is that 50 percent of the wine uses the saignée method, creating rosé from the byproduct of red wine fermentation.
Coteaux Varois: This area features limestone mountain ranges and higher altitudes that provide good acidity and complex flavors.
Bellet: This region is on the far eastern edge with some uncommon grape varietals. It’s also the only AOC to allow the use of Chardonnay in its blends. A
10 Unique Wineries in Provence
You can explore a great number of wineries throughout Provence. The following are all offering a unique experience beyond simply tasting the wines that they produce.
1. Chateau La C
oste – Wine, Art, Gastronomy and Yoga
Chateau La Coste in Puy Sainte Réparade offers a wide range of reds and whites for you to choose from. This includes such rosé varietals as La Bulle and Grand Vin Rosé. For the reds, you can explore the Grande Cuvée Chateau La Coste, the Grand Vin Red, and Les Pentes Douces Red. They also produce
What sets winery Chateau La Coste apart from the other wineries throughout Provence is that it offers you an art and architecture experience. The renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed the sculptural art center with a bookstore and restaurant, overlooking the infinity pool and the vines. A two-hour walk will allow you to see installations of contemporary art as you stroll through the valleys and wooded hilltops.
During spring and summer you can take a yoga class in the vines. The scenery, the art, and the yoga will make you feel zen for days. You can sign up here.
2. La Cavale – Wine and Truffles
La Cavale is located in the heart of the Natural Regional Park of the Luberon. It was built by a French fraternity of craftsmen and designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, a French architect. There are three labels for you to explore across the 42-hectare winery, including Petite Cavale, La Cavale, and Grand Cavale.
They’ve taken an organically grown approach and they hope to receive is their certification in 2020.
While you are visiting, you can enjoy wine tastings and guided tours of the cellars. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to discover truffles, either. When visiting mid-November through mid-February, you can embark on an incredible experience with a visit to a truffle patch. You’ll learn more about truffles, go out with a truffle-hunting dog, and, then, return to La Cavale for a tasting you’ll never forget.
3. Brotte – Wine and Museum
At Brotte, the winery contains five generations of pioneering spirit. They have been recognized in France and around the world for their incredible wines. You can experience Estate and Rare House wines produced in limited quantities. The presence of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cairanne
In addition to tasting wines, you can visit the Brotte Wine Museum on the property. This was created in 1972 and displays an array of old tools that were used in growing wine. The guided tour is available in a variety of languages and lasts about 45 minutes. Following the tour, it’s a chance to taste Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate wines with the help of a sommelier.
4. La Citadelle – Wine and Corkscrews
When visiting La Citadelle, there’s a lot to experience. First, you can see the red, white, and pink wines that are produced at the winery. Cabernet and Viognier varieties along with Le Châtaignier cuvée are some of the most popular wines. Many have hints of black fruits with a lot of complexities.
There are beautiful botanical gardens that you can visit while here, too. You get a view of Luberon as you walk the gardens, which should take about 90 minutes. When you finish, you can visit the cellar for a wine tasting. It is also a good idea to visit the corkscrew museum.
The corkscrew museum is a private collection of over 1200 corkscrews from around the world. These cover over 400 years of styles, too. They founded it in 1993, and they add annually to the collection with finds from around the world.
5. Chateau la Dorgonne – Wine and Picnic
Located in Provence, Chateau la Dorgonne offers organic wines. You can explore the wines and take a tour of the entire facilities. The wines hail from the Rhone Valley and use a specific method of growing the vines known as Bio-Active®. This method takes into account the natural cycles of the soil and the needs of the subsoil. The goal is to obtain a balance between nature and production.
The elegant red wines are vivid and powerful while subtle and delicate. The white wines are refined and aromatic and the rosés are fruity and vivid. The wines have all the Rhone Valley appellation with the Luberon origin (PDO). All their wines have great cellar potential of 5 to 10 years.
Picnics are a fun way to enjoy this vineyard. You can enjoy a chef-created picnic in the shade of lush pine trees. There are two options available from the chef, allowing you to feast on a starter, a main dish, cheese, and a dessert. The wicker basket will also include a bottle of wine from the vineyard. Additionally, you can rent a charming guest house at the Chateau for an added adventure.
6. Chateau Gassier – Wine and Hike
Chateau Gassier is located in the Cotes de Provence Sainte-Victoire region. It’s been around since 1982 and is located in the mountain foothills. In 2016 the Estate has been certified organic and the wines try to express the subtlety and purity of this terroir.
Their soil and semi-continental climate make it possible to grow Grenache, Syrah, and Vermentino. The red clay also makes a good environment for growing Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, Ugni Blanc, and Rolle. They also produce three elaborate rosés, designed for the world of gastronomy. There wines carry the names of
Chateau Gassier makes it possible to experience Provence to the fullest with their wine tourism program. It allows you to enjoy the wine, go on a hike, and even have a gourmet lunch bag packed when you set off on the vineyard trail.
The open-air cinema allows you to watch movies once night falls. You can relax in a deckchair, enjoy food from a food truck, and enjoy the wines of the domain at the same time. Tasting workshops and summer concerts make this place a unique winery.
7. Chateau de l’Aumerade – Wine and Santons
At the Chateau de l’Aumerade, you can enjoy an introduction to the art of tastings as well as enjoy guided tours and tastings. The estate has a history that dates back to the 16th century, though it became what it is today in the 18th century.
The wines produced include a number of Cuvées as well as L’Origine and Les 3 Terroirs. The Cru Classé wines are a mix of traditional and gastronomy wines. 80 hectares of vines are dedicated to the Cru Classé. In total, 85 percent of the wines are rosé with another 10 percent as red and the remainder as white.
You can create half day and full day packages, that allowing you to experience the wine and the estate. You can also enjoy the Santons exhibition. This exhibit is from the Fabre family’s private collection.
8. Chateau Sainte Roseline – Wine and Cloister
The Chateau Sainte Roseline is within 30 minutes of the Bay of Saint Tropez and an hour from Nice. Bernard Teillaud took over the estate in 1994 to begin making it an artistic destination.
The French architect Jean Michel Wilmotte renovated the abbey located on the premises. Additionally, there is a 12th-century cloister that is half-Roman and half-Gothic. There is also a park
They produce three wine labels, including Chateau Sainte Roseline, Chateau des Demoiselles, and Roseline Diffusion. Each produces something exceptional. The Sainte Roseline offers cuvées and a Lampe de Meduse. The Chateau des Demoiselles offers pleasure wines and food wines. Finally, Roseline Diffusion produces the Roseline Prestige and the PERLE.
You can schedule tours to visit the chapel (abbey), cloister, and cellar. From there, you can enjoy a tasting of the wines. Depending on when you visit, there are various events that take place at the winery, including concerts and food pairings.
9. Chateau Val Joanis – Wine and Garden
The Chateau Val Joanis is located in the foothills of the Grand Luberon. The beautiful landscapes around the property make the Chateau a popular venue for wedding receptions.
At this winery, they produce mostly white and rose wines. This includes the Cuvée Les Griottes, the rouge tradition, the Cuvée Les Aubepines, the blanc tradition, the Cuvée Josephine, and the rosé tradition.
Tobbie Loup de Viane, a landscape designer created the gardens of the Chateau. The goal was to create self-sufficiency with fruits and vegetables as was the case in the 18th century. You can explore three terraces that they carved out. You can enjoy the beautiful landscape while taking in the fresh air that smells of wild lavender, roses, and other Mediterranean species of plants.
10. Domaine de Jeanne – Wine and Camping
You’ll find Domaine de Jeanne just north of Ramatuelle, a small town. The vines grow on the slopes that are oriented towards the Gulf of Saint Tropez, which adds floral aromas to the wine.
The winery is filled with the most common varietals of Provence. It makes it possible to create high-tannin reds and complex rosés. The rosés are made from Grenache, Cinsault, and Tibouren. The reds are made from Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cabernet.
Camping is a unique experience that you can have at this winery. There are 20 campsites with shade and breathtaking views of the vineyards. You’ll have access to washbasins, hot showers, and toilets. Upon request, it is also possible to rent a four-person bungalow.