The Wine Connoisseur: Provence — the oldest grape-growing region in France

The Wine Connoisseur: Provence — the oldest grape-growing region in France

Pixabay photo

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

The region of Provence sits along the Mediterranean coast at the southern end of the Rhône Valley, east of the Languedoc region. Wine has been made here for around 2,600 years, with grapevines brought by the Greeks, thus making it the oldest wine-producing region in France.

Mediterranean vegetation, described as a combination of brush, piney shrubs, spicy herbs, and fragrant plants, such as juniper, lavender, rosemary, and thyme, referred to as garrigue, grow along the limestone hills.

The refreshing rosé wines of Provence, long popular among dwellers and visitors to the French Riviera, are popular throughout the region, especially in famous gastronomic cities such as Nice and Marseilles. In 2022, over 150 million bottles were produced, accounting for almost 40 percent of France’s rosé production.

In Provence, where both red and white wines are produced, rosé makes up almost 90% of the wine and is produced in all nine appellations. While there are dozens of grapes grown in Provence, the most important white grapes are Clairette, Vermentino, Grenache Blanc, and Roussanne. The most important red grapes are Grenache, Cinsaut, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and the local Tibouren.

Some wines I recently tasted are…

2021 Château Miraval “Côtes de Provence” Blanc. (Made from Rolle grapes.) Pale straw color with a bouquet and flavor of apples, pears, almonds, and citrus. Clean tasting with hints of chamomile, herbs, and minerals.

2022 Château de Berne “Inspiration,” Rosé. (Made with organic grapes.) Blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsaut, and Syrah grapes. Light pink color with a perfumed aroma of apple blossoms, lavender, and orange peel. Delightfully fruity with flavors of citrus, peach, clove, and tart berries. There is a hint of fennel in the aftertaste.

2022 Château de Berne “Romance,” Rosé. (Blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsaut, Syrah, and Merlot grapes.) Salmon-colored with a faint floral bouquet of berries, flowers, and spices. Full flavors of honeysuckle, tart orange, and citrus. Very smooth finish, with an aftertaste of honeydew melon.

2022 Château de Berne “Ultimate,” Rosé. (Blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir, Cinsaut, and Rolle grapes.) Pale coppery color with a fresh bouquet of raspberries, tangerine, and some spices. Full in the mouth with flavors of strawberry jam and citrus. There are hints of jasmine, white pepper, and geranium.

2017 Domaine de La Bégude “Bandol.” (Mostly Mourvèdre grapes.) Deeply colored with a bouquet and flavor of blackberry, cranberry, licorice, clove, and plums. It is quite tannic with a spicy oak aftertaste.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR [email protected].