Situated at the northern tip of the Latin Arch, Provence is the only wine region in Southern Europe whose rosé wine constitutes a majority in its wine production. For long in history – and it remained the case until the emergence of Bordeaux’s full-bodied and richly coloured reds rose to prominence thanks to the Dutch, vin rosé – vin gris or vin orange used to be norm. This is due to the limitations of viticultural technology and winemaking techniques back then, when effective pressing and extended maceration did not yet exist. This time-old style of wine was preferred by the Greeks and Romans, and continued well into the Middle Ages.
Viticulture and winemaking were introduced to Provence by the ancient Greeks around 600 BC, when they founded Massilia, now Marseille. During Roman times, after 25 years of service, veteran legionnaires could retire with a generous pension and a plot of land. Many settled in Gallia Transalpina (literally: Gaul thither side of the Alps) and, with the typically Roman spirit of “veni, vidi, vici”, called the place Provincia Nostra (literally: our province), hence the name Provence. Both Gallia Transalpina and Gallia Cisalpina (literally: Gaul hither side of the Alps) – now Piemonte – were imperial provinces, i.e. the emperor possessed the sole right to the provincial governor, as opposed to senatorial provinces.
Provençale wines were highly regarded during Greco-Roman times, and the reputation persisted well into the modern era. In the late 19th century, subsequent to the phylloxera plague, high yielding varieties were planted as replacement. Meanwhile, with the advent of railroads and industrialisation, Provence began to focus more on quantity, not quality, to quench the thirst of urban working classes –– a parallel can be drawn to its western neighbour, Languedoc-
Provence enjoys a quintessentially Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and mild winters, plenty of sunshine hours and the all-important mistral. With minimal risks of fungal disease, many pioneering estates are embracing organic and biodynamic viticulture with enthusiasm. As opposed to its northern neighbor Rhône, which stretches from north to south, Provence stretches from west to east. It contains nine main areas, the biggest and most prolific of which, Côtes-de-Provence, has three subdivided areas in Côtes-de-Provence Fréjus, Côtes-de-Provence La Londe and Côtes-de-Provence Sainte-Victoire, producing some of the finest rosé wines in the world. In terms grape variety, Provence is essentially Southern French in spirit, with noticeable Corsican and Italian influence.
A blend of 50 percent Cinsault, 40 percent Grenache and 10 percent Syrah. Translucent amaranth-coral with shimmering copper reflex, the uplifting nose offers white cherry, rosehip, garden herbs and apple blossom. With sprightly acidity and clear minerality, the adorable palate delivers Seville orange, strawberry, crushed shells and bouquet garni. Medium-bodied at 13 percent, the fresh entry carries onto an energetic mid-palate, leading to a cleansing finish.
Domaine de la Sanglière Côtes-de-Provence La Londe Rosé Cuvée Prestige 2015
A blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Cinsault. Limpid salmon pink with glittering carnation reflex, the floral nose presents cloudberry, red apple, crushed leaves and white rose. With engaging acidity and clean minerality, the scented palate furnishes cranberry, whitecurrant, bay leaf and seashells. Medium-bodied at 13 percent, the invigorating entry continues through a tangy mid-palate, leading to a harmonious finish.
Domaine de la Sanglière Côtes-de-Provence La Londe Rosé Cuvée Apogée 2015
A blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. Crystalline cerise-tangelo with flickering lavender reflex, the pristine nose effuses pink grapefruit, green olive, smoked bacon and rose petal. With animated acidity and immaculate minerality, the chiselled palate emanates passion fruit, green mango, herbes de Provence and potpourri. Medium-bodied at 12.5 percent, the poised entry evolves into an intricate mid-palate, leading to a melodious finish.
To discover the hidden germs of Provence, contact Mr John Ng, Managing Director of Agência Superar; E: firstname.lastname@example.org; T: 2871 9978; F: 2871 7936; A: Rua dos Pescadores No. 354-408, Edificio Industrial Nam Fung Bloco II, Andar 4F.
A tasting will held on Saturday, January 21 at Parisian Pool Bar of The Parisian Macao.
Jacky I.F. Cheong is a legal professional by day and columnist by night. Having spent his formative years in Britain,
France, and Germany, he regularly writes about wine, fine arts, classical music, and politics in several languages