As a wine region, Provence is best known for rosés, which, happily, are an excellent match for the sunny climate (France’s sunniest) and the region’s garlic-infused cuisine.
Although the sub-region of Bandol is offering some serious Mourvèdre-centric red wines and while the tiny Cassis sub-region is known for white wines, rosés are the bread and butter for most of Provence.
The region extends inland to the southern end of the Rhône Valley and stretches over 200 kilometers (100 miles), from Nice to Marseilles, along the Mediterranean. Tourism to the plentiful beaches—the perfect setting for chilled rosé—explains why some sub-regions have little need for exports.Traces of Provence’s centuries in the middle of many international tug-of-wars can be found in its grape varieties. Tibouren, long thought to be indigenous, turned out to be a DNA match for the Italian variety Rossese di Dolceacqua. Rhone varieties are the preponderant components in most Provençal wines but Cabernet Sauvignon, the non-Mediterranean émigré from Bordeaux, is allowed in small quantities.