« The production of the Rosé has been a speciality and an art de vivre of Provence for a long time. »
The label Côtes de Provence has been recognised since 1977. It is known as being the major label for the rosé which represents 90% of the wines produced in Côtes de Provence.
The vineyards of Provence spreads out 200 kilometers from the Mediterranean to the Alps. It is divided into three labels :
Coteaux Varois en Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and Côtes de Provence.
The label Côtes de Provence stretches out over 20 000 hectares, that is to say on 84 municipalities starting from Bouches du Rhône to the Var and up to the Maritime Alpes. The label is known and recognised for its rosé. It is, in fact, the number one region in the world for the production of the rosé. It produces an average of 962 000 hectolitres per year, that is to say 128 million bottles. There are 372 private cellars under the label Côtes de Provence and 38 co-op cellars.
The soils of the Côtes de Provence region is of a complex geological composition. It has two main geological attributes : one limestone (in the north and the west) and one cristalin (in the south and the east) These different varieties of soils make for different kinds of Côtes de Provence wines, each with their own geological and climatic personnalities.
Under this label there are 5 big natural zones : the edge of the coast, the Interior Valley, the hills of the Higher Land, the Beausset basin, and the Sainte-Victoire mountain. Amongst these big zones, there are four terroir names : Saint-Victoire, Fréjus, La Londe and Pierrefeu. These denominations correspond to the official recognition by the INAO of the particularity of the wines and its areas.
The mixing of the different grapes is a very old tradition in Provence. The list of specifications for the Reds and the Rosés requires them to include a number of main grape varieties as well as a certain number of accessory grapes. The main grape varieties are : Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Tibouren.
Accessory grapes : Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Clairette, Sémillon, Ugni Blanc and Vermentino (Rolle). The main grapes have to represent at least 70% of the vines and the grapes such as Clairette, Ugni Blanc, Sémillon and Vermention cannot be over 20% of the vines.
For the white Côtes de Provence, the grapes allowed are the Vermentino, Clairette, Semillon and the Ugni Blanc.