Provence Wines

Cassis: A Timeless AOC

Cassis is the most beautiful AOC (appellation d'origine contrôlée) in France: the vineyards cling to the slopes of a magical amphitheater that plunges towards the shimmering Mediterranean. The Phocaeans (ancient Greeks for Asia Minor) must have been enchanted with these slopes when they first saw them 2,600 years ago. And they did well to plant them to the vine. The perfect exposure, dry and nutrient-poor soils and the cooling Mediterranean breezes still give rise to some of the most expressive wines of the Mediterranean. The wines of Cassis have made this tiny seafaring village tucked right next to vibrant Marseille one of the references for white wine not just in France but in the world.

In the 16th century, Cassis became renowned for white wines, a unique distinction in a region that at that time produced mostly reds. Today, the Cassis AOC remains unique within Provence with white wines accounting for 67% of production. Rosé, which constitutes about 90% of the production of Provence, in Cassis accounts for 30% and reds account for only 3%.
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Swedish Wine Writer Wins Coveted Award for his Book on Provence Wines

Göran Boman was recently honored with the prestigious international Gourmand World Cookbook Award for his 2018 book entitled The Wines of Provence – Tricolour.   Accordingly, this book is the “Best in the World” in the category “French Wine“! I learned that this competition has been likened to the film competition in the Oscars. Woo-hoo, Göran Boman!

This very informative and well-written book covers...
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A Roundup of Some Lovely 2019 Rosés

My 2019 schedule for tasting was so well laid out…. WineParis, Prowein, AIR Provence, Vinitaly, as well as numerous local tastings…. What could possibly go wrong?

But there is always a silver lining, and, in many ways my tasting this year has been much more focused. Tasting 183 Provence rosés for Decanter magazine just before lockdown and receiving (at home) a number of rosés to taste from around Languedoc have shown that the 2019 rosé vintage is excellent.
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DOMAINE DE L’AMAURIGUE CELEBRATES ITS 20TH VINTAGE

It’s been 20 years since Domaine de l’Amaurigue released its first estate-bottled vintage. To mark that special occasion, Jean-Marie Quef, winemaker and director of the domaine, created a special cuvée of rosé made from only the best and oldest parcels of the property, including their 55-year-old Grenache vines. There was just enough rosé to fill 4000 elegant...
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Easter Monday Brings Omelets and Rosé Chez Nous

Twenty years ago, in April 2000, we were tooling along the Canal du Midi with five friends. We rented a barge – a péniche -- and slowly cruised from Toulouse to Argens-Minervois, each of us taking turns behind the wheel and in the galley kitchen. Easter coincided with this trip and we produced a fabulous lamb dinner with all the trimmings to celebrate that occasion.  The next day, we made omelets.

We learned from someone during our market explorations that the Monday after Easter was also a holiday and that post offices, banks, stores, and most other businesses would be closed. Called Lundi de Pâques or, in English, simply Easter Monday, it is primarily a day to relax.  We were unable to establish any religious significance, but we did learn that the French in the south of France make omelets on Easter Monday.   Et Dieu sait while in France, we wanted to do what the French...

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Southern France Vineyards Struck by Severe Frost

Temperatures as low as -7֯ C  (19.4֯ F) were recorded in the Var in the early morning hours of March 25 and 26. Snow flurries were seen but it was the frost that caused damage to vineyards throughout the Var and apparently in parts of the Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône, and Gard...
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Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

Chilling With Friends

It was the eve of a minor surgical procedure that was to keep me off my feet for four to six weeks. What was I to do? Naturally, I invited friends over for meal-worthy charcuterie board to chill, try out some wine ... and to keep my mind off the knife. What would you have done?

While there is no one “recipe” for putting together a charcuterie board, I invite...
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