Not just a destination for tourists and movie stars, Provence makes some delicious and easy-drinking wines. Most of these wines are rosé – a dry, pale, pink style rose. The climate here is Mediterranean, with most of the vines planted on southern facing slopes to avoid the fierce Mistral winds. Thirteen varieties are permitted in the region, the most important for rose being Carignan, Grenache and Cinsault. A move is being made to bring in more varieties, like Syrah, to increase the quality of the wines.
The most important appellation is Côtes de Provence, where about 80% of the production is the typical style rose. Unfortunately, the easy-drinking aspect does not translate to the price – some of these wines are a bit pricey for drink-today wines. Some producers are making a shift to higher quality while others are selling their wines at a bargain. Either way, Côtes de Provence rose is a delicious match with any provence-style garlic-y cuisine. Other appellations to note include Bandol, Bellet, Les Baux-de-Provence, Cassis and Côteaux d'Aix-en-Provence. Though Côtes de Provence rules in amount of wine produced, the quality appellation to know is Bandol. Mostly red and mostly Mourvedre, the wines of Bandol are able to age a few years, like many a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but also enjoyed in their youth.