Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence

2017 Harvest in Provence and Southern Rhône: Early and Small but with Great Expectations

If you live in the South of France, you would have to be living a cave not to know that the 2017 harvest was historically early and small. I was in Provence during harvest time – la vendange, in French – and heard directly from winemakers about their concerns for the future but also about their optimism that Mother Nature who, despite dealing drought conditions in some areas and severe frost in others, operates in cycles.

“It used to be that grapes were picked in mid-September,” said Romain Ott, great, great grandson of pioneer winemaker Marcel Ott and, today, the winemaker at Château Léoube, a sprawling estate located on the Mediterranean coast (next to Clos Mireille, one of Marcel Ott’s original three properties). “I never got to participate [in the harvest] because I had gone back to school,” Ott said.

“Now, we are finished by then,” he added.    “This year, our harvest began on August 17th,” Ott told me when I visited Château Léoube at the end of August.  He estimated the harvest would be complete on the 8th of September.  “Five years ago, the harvest began the last week in August,” he
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Diary of a Master of Wine in Provence

Côtes de Provence, Prowein, and Coteaux Varois

One region, one new vintage, two countries, three colours, three appellations, three departments, four fairs… Round one of my official tasting season is over, and now is time for a brief retrospective pause to think about them and the rosés tasted. Concentrating on research for my rosé book means that I often didn’t have time to taste all the reds and whites I want to – that is something to look forward to this autumn.

The one region is Provence with three of the four tasting events being for Côtes de Provence, Coteaux Varois and Coteaux d’Aix who together make up 95% of the region’s production, and held, respectively in the departments of Alpes Maritimes, Var and Bouches du Rhône. The fourth event at Prowein, in Germany, was for the three regions together. The two countries were France and Germany.
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