The unseasonaly hot weather has brought out the rosé on Majestic tasting counters. Mike in East Molesey bathes in the Provence sunshine…
The Romans called the area nostra provincia (“our province”), giving the region its name. Just south of the Alps, it was the first Roman province outside Italy.
Wine has been made in this region for at least 2,600 years. Throughout the region’s history, viticulture and winemaking have been influenced by the cultures that have been present in Provence, which include the Romans, Gauls, Catalans,Ancient Greeks and Savoyards. These diverse groups introduced a large variety of grapes to the region, including grape varieties of Greek and Roman origin as well as Spanish, Italian and traditional French wine grapes.
Today the region is known predominately for its rosé wines. Provence has a classic Mediterranean climate, with the sea forming its southern border. Mild winters are followed by very warm summers with little rainfall. Sunshine is found in abundance in this region with the grapevines receiving more than 3,000 hours per year, twice the amount needed to ripen grapes fully. The strong mistral wind from the north provides positive influences on the viticulture. While it can cool the grapes from the heat and dry the grapes after rain, providing some protection against rot and grape diseases.
There is an AOC requirement that at least 20% of the rosé must be blended from wine produced by the saignee method of maceration. This means that red grapes are slightly crushed and left to macerate for a short time, releasing a pink juice that is later blended with other wines to create optimum flavour. This method helps to adjust the balance the perfect level and brinks more complexity the wine. Grape Varieties are numerous: Cinsault grape is specifically used for rosé wine but the other grapes, Grenache, Syrah, Mouvèdre, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon, are used as well for red and rosé wine.
Examples of Provençal wines have flavours and aromas that reflect the garrigue landscape of the region which includes wild lavender, rosemary, thyme and are packed with refreshing acidity, complexity and summer red berry notes.