Introduction to Provence.
The home of one of the best known styles of rosé, Provence is a region and historical province of south-eastern France.
The region extends from the left bank of the lower Rhone River along the Mediterranean Sea all the way to the western border of Italy. Wine was thought to be introduced into Provence by the Greeks who founded Marseille and Nice in 600 BC but after the Roman occupation in 120 BC the growing of vines and olives was forbidden. It wasn’t until late in the Roman Empire when Roman soldiers started to retire in Provence that the ban was lifted but the region developed a name for producing quite poor wines. The wines of the region had quite a poor name as recent as the 1970s but since that time, cultivation of poorer varieties has dropped and new methods and technologies have improved quality.
Cassis is the only area of Provence known for white wines but the region is most famous for its production of rosé wines and is known as the spiritual home of rose. Rosé wine has undergone a surge of interest in the past 10 years and is now seen as the ‘drink for summer. Lighter than red, and less sharp than white, the pale pink rosés of Provence have become a very popular choice. Typically, Provence reds are young, fruity and fresh but the better quality reds can keep for many years, and can mature very well but seem to be in the shadow of Provence rosé at the moment.
The most common way to make rosé wine is to crush red grapes and let the skins stay in contact with the juice for a very short time, from a few hours to three days. It's this that turns the juice pink.