Côtes de Provence is a wide area covering Côte d'Azur, from Marseille to Nice in France. This region accounts for nearly 75% of all the wine made in Provence with rosé accounting for around 80% of the production. Red wine is slowly becoming more predominant whereas white wine being almost non existent. The main grape varieties grown are Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Tibouren with an increase in the use of Cabernet Sauvignon. The soils in the region are mainly Siliceous and limestone based.
When I last visited, the strength of the sun was evident. The sun, soils and proximity to the sea give the wine dry and fruity characteristics. Red wines made in the Côte de Provence are generally quite strong, but some areas in the region can produce wines in lighter more delicate styles. Rosé is the star of this winemaking region. The area concentrates on producing world-class rosé, with red and white wine being produced in smaller quantities.
To improve the quality of their rosé wine, the producers limit the amount of Carignan used, with a maximum of 40% permitted, with the other 60% coming from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Tibouren. The appellation also demands that at least 20% of the rosé must be blended from wine produced by the saignee method of maceration. Côte de Provence has a strong cultural tradition especially with its wine and cuisine. Some producers still use the traditional regional wine bottle, which has a distinctive look that is between an amphora vessel and a bowling pin.
Below are tasting notes taken from my recent visit to the region.
Mas Négrel Cadenet Sainte Victoire Prestige
13.5% alcohol. Grape varieties: Grenache & Syrah. This wine has a beautiful, rich texture. Gorgeous garnet red colour. Packed full of spice and blackcurrant. This wine has the earthy, spicy aroma of the hot area of Sainte Victoire. A great wine to keep tucked away for 10 years. 90/100
Mas de Cadenet Sainte Victoire Tradition
Bright crimson colour. Bouquet of black fruits and spices. On the palate their is intense fruit with structure, fine tannins and hint of chocolate. Good example of what this
region can produce with red wine. 89/100
Mas de Cadenet Arbaude Côtes de Provence
Made from Syrah, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Ruby in colour. Flavours of red fruits and leather notes. Fresh structure with back fruits on the finish. 89/100
Les Hauts de Saint-Ser red
Made from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Powerful aromas of leather and fruit. This wine has a strong structure with rounded tannins. Good quality wine here. 90/100
Domaine de Saint Ser Cuvée Prestige red
Made from Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. This wine has black fruits with olives on the nose. Soft tannins and lovely velvety layers of fruit. Good quality for the price.
Domaine de Saint Ser Cuvée Prestige Rosé
The flagship of Saint-Ser. Made from Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. The bouquet is full of complexity and the palate surprises with aromatic intenstiy, finesse and a good impression of red
fruits. Top quality rosé. 92/100