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Monday, August 11, 2014

Cotes de Provence, 'The World's Largest Wine Region that Specializes in Dry Rose Wines' by Philip S. Kampe



                                                       A  Cotes de Provence vineyard

Did you know that Provence was the first Roman province outside of Italy? The Romans called the region ‘provincia nostra’, meaning our province.

Provence is just south of the Alps, located in southeast France.

Wine has been made in the region since the founding of Marseille in 600 B.C. It is obvious that the various winemaking cultures that occupied the region have influenced today’s wines of Provence.

Rose accounts for more than 88% of the production in the Cotes de Provence. Over 141 million AOC Rose bottles are produced each year.  From a world standpoint, the Cotes de Provence area accounts for 5.6% total of all rose wines sold in the world.

Rose sales have been skyrocketing in America. Statistics agreed, with  a 40% rise in sales of Roses in 2013.

                                                  A map of Provence within France

Provence is the ‘World’s Largest Wine Region that Specializes in Dry Rose Wines’. The region is known for its Mediterranean climate, consisting of sunny days, little or no snow and hot, dry summers. Basically, Provence has mild temperatures, which makes it a perfect area to grow grapes. The added bonus in Provence is the ‘Mistral’, a constant breeze that sweeps through the limestone of the vineyards, carrying notes of rosemary, thyme, lavender and sage to the vines. With the addition of these fragrances, thanks to the Mistral, the wines of Provence always rate high on the aromatic chart.

Vineyards, traditionally, face south to avoid the harsh winds of the Mistral, while receiving the benefits of the breezes.

Provence is synonymous with rose wine. The Wines of Provence at www.provencewineusa.com  is a perfect website to get to know the Wines of Provence. Their website leads you from A to Z in regard to the wines from the region, focusing specifically on Rose wines.


I have had the pleasure to sample a large quantity of wines from the region and have my list of favorites.

So does, Decanter.com, a British wine online magazine, that reviewed hundreds of
Cotes de Provence rose wines from the 2013 vintage and selected their Top Five wines.
This results are impressive, as you will see below.


The Top Five list includes:

#1  Le Grand Cros, L’Espirit de Provence 2013 
95 points
75% Grenache  25% Syrah   
13.5% alcohol
Orchard fruit nose, red fruit, mandarin and fennel on the palate.  Creamy texture with good acidity.
$20
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#2  Chateau Gassier, Le Pas du Moine, Ste. Victoire  2013
90 points
12.5% alcohol
Sophisticated nose of fennel and herbs, raspberry and cream on the palate. Excellent food wine, long and luxuriant finish, while being decadent.
$20
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#3  Chateau Riotor, Famille Abeille 2013
90 points
13% alcohol
Nose of elderflower and a kitchen garden. Good weight and structure with ripe red fruit and floral notes. Crisp acidity for gastronomic indulgence.
$19
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#4  Chateau des Serrins  2013
89 points
12.5% alcohol
Complex nose show numerous grape varieties. Palate gently oaked with a backdrop of orange fruit and impressive weight.
$25
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#5  Domaine Gavoty 2013
89 points
13% alcohol
Creamy, sweet tones on the nose, with fig and melon on the palate. A long finish with a pronounced lovely herbal twist at the end.
$20
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Provence is a region that goes beyond wine. Yes, the dry Roses stand out. But, there is so much more. Sun, nearly 3,000 hours a year. Blue skies, natural beauty, the Mediterranean Sea, fresh vegetables, mouth watering seafood and a lifestyle that is in harmony with nature.

When in Provence, the hundreds of wineries welcome visitors, as if they are family. Besides wine tasting and a traditional meal, there are, often, guest quarters in the Chateaus for tourists.

Day trips can include Monte Carlo, Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez, Marseille, Toulon and Antibes.

For a region that stretches from the Alpine hills near Draguignan to the coast of St. Tropez, Provence has a lot to offer the visitor, in addition to the magnificent Rose wines it offers the world.

Philip S. Kampe
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