Luisa finds that this year we are really having a pink summer, but she much prefers the rose’ wines from Provence than the Barbie pink…..

Provence is deservedly famous for its high-quality rose’ wines, and rightly so. Over 10% of the world’s pinks, and some of the very best, come from Provence, so they know a thing or two about making these delightful, light fresh and elegant wines. 

When the UK finally warmed to the idea of rose’ wine, it proved that it was not just a fad, with an appeal which reached consumers of all ages, right through to Generation Z. And despite stiff competition from other countries, Provence has remained in the lead as far as choice is concerned. Making rose’ wine is a speciality in Provence, it’s the DNA of the region and a longstanding way of life.

The climate, terroir and grape varieties are perfect for making rose’ – not for nothing Provence is the Number One French region for its production  with 157 million bottles in 2022, dedicating 91% of the vineyards to that wine. 

Its three appellations produce wines with different characteristics, so there really is a style for everyone.  Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence.

The  Côtes de Provence appellation is  a patchwork of terroirs, each with its own geological  and climatic personality, so much so that the soil type is often stated on the label.

Take Mas de Cadenet Sainte Victorie 2022 for example.  Sainte Victorie is one of four terroir designations producing wines with a pronounced typicity.  This is a stunning Provence pale salmon pink rose’ from the Negrel family, founded in 1813. It’s one of the best rose’ I have tasted, and I recently learned that it’s found in some of the very best Michelin starred restaurants throughout France.

A delectable wine made from the Grenache and Cinsault grapes, with red fruits on the nose and fresh citrus notes, a lively palate with layers of ripe fruit, balanced, fresh with a persistent finish. 

Also worth mentioning is H&B Côte de Provence, a rose’ of immense charm and minerality, with notes of fennel, anise and purple flowers. Made from the same grapes, Grenache and Cinsault with a touch of Syrah from the cooler parts of the area, this is a lovely wine for sipping in Provençal tradition, accompanied by a chunk of fougasse, the typical Provence focaccia, and olives. 

From Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence come rose’ wines which are usually shimmering, vibrant, with hues of salmon-pink, peach and lychee with clean pink reflections. These are wines with intense aromas of citrus, sometime lifted by sweet spice, with a generous palate and good acidity. 

Situated further West in Provence, the vineyards are influenced by the Mediterranean climate marked by the Mistral, the cold, dry wind which blows from the north. The soil is again very mixed, from stony clay and limestone to sand and gravel, giving the wines their individual characters. 

Encompassing all the characteristics of Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence is Chateau La Coste 2022, organically grown in a beautiful vineyard owned by a winery which is much more than a winery. Here you will find a sculptured park, a delight to walk through, and the Chateau itself – an iconic building designed by some of the world’s most renowned architects.

The wines are based on a special varietal of the Grenache grape, originally from Spain. It is a high-yielding variety resistant to the strong winds of the area, and to drought.  The wine’s trademark is its minerality and finesse. It perfectly shows the complexity and structure that the best Provence rose’ can deliver.

Rich and elegant, with a creamy texture and generous fruit, albeit bone dry. Intense on the fruit, with red berries, citrus and white flowers notes giving it backbone and body. Partially aged in French oak for six months for maximum texture and complexity.  A perfect companion to smoked salmon and seafood paella. 

Coteaux Varois en Provence vineyards are located in the heart of ‘calcareous Provence’, with a continental climate and vines grown at altitudes of up to 500 metres. Summers are hot and winters can be very cold here, providing the ideal conditions to make elegant wines. 

Here you will find a winery with an Italian heritage, Château Bellini – where history, terroir and modern technology combine to produce some extraordinary rose’ wines.  The domain was established along the Roman ‘Via Aurelia’ in the heart of ‘Provincia’ during the 10th Century. 

Made from Cinsault with some Syrah and Grenache, Château Bellini 2022 releases wonderful aromas of peach and apricot, leading to citrus notes of grapefruit. The palate is delicious, ripe but not oversweet, blood orange notes evolve into a swathe of peach and pear with just enough citrus to lift the palate. This is a ripe, fresh, complex and elegant wine. 

On the finish, a hint of wild strawberry with a very delicate touch of spice that lingers on through a very lengthy finish on what is undoubtedly one of the finest rosé wines I have tasted this year.

This wonderful selection of rose’ wines make the perfect accompaniment to today’s less structured meals, they match most cuisines and bring conviviality and enjoyment to the table.  There is a style for everyone.