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Top Provence wines: Beyond rosé

Provence may be best known for its dry rosé wines, but the region is also home to white and red wines worth discovering. Capable of producing prestige reds and some truly exceptional white wines, below we highlight 20 top examples from the Decanter World Wine Awards to try...

Located along the Mediterranean coast in the south of France, Provence is one of France’s oldest wine-producing regions. Rosé accounts for more than 85% of wine produced in the region, and though Provence’s world-renowned specialty, quality red wines and increasingly, top-quality white wines are vying for attention.

‘Provence’s finest white wines are one of France’s wine secrets,’ begins the tasting note for Villa Baulieu’s Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2016 – awarded the top accolade of Best in Show at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards. Matured for eight months in 40hl oak foudres, this wine is produced from 60% Rolle and 40% Sauvignon Blanc, which moderates the exuberance of Rolle in Provence’s warm climate. 


Premium – Château Vignelaure’s Provence reds: Special 50th anniversary tasting

Scroll down to see Provence’s top-scoring white and red wines


On judging Provençal wines at DWWA 2020, Rod Smith MW, Regional Chair for Provence commented, ‘I’m quite excited about the white wines and increasingly, the red wines with the change in climate. Rolle, which is the white grape of Provence, aka Vermentino in Italy, is a great grape – good at resisting sunshine and capable of making some truly exceptional white wines.’

Results for Provence at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 show there is much more to be discovered beyond rosé, with both white and red wines receiving more Gold medals (95+ points) than rosé wines at the competition. Below discover 20 top-scoring examples worth seeking out…

DWWA 2020 Top Provence wines: Beyond rosé

White

Villa Baulieu, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2016

Best in Show, 97 points
60% Rolle, 40% Sauvignon Blanc
Provence’s finest white wines are one of France’s wine secrets: little lauded, amidst all the attention given to rosé and prestige reds, but quietly compelling, as those who take the trouble to discover them will find, and more diverse than you would think, too. This point of difference in this outstanding example from Coteaux d’Aix en Provence is the Sauvignon Blanc component, freshening and lending a nut-leaf complexity to the richer, more succulent fruit from the Rolle (Vermentino), always at home around the Mediterranean rim. Look out, too, for the pithy, zesty finish with its attractive and cleansing note of soft bitterness.

Château des Bormettes, Instinct Parcellaire La Bergerie, Côtes de Provence La Londe 2018

Gold, 96 points
100% Vermentino
Lush nose of candied lemon, sweet, spiced oak and green fruit, while the palate is graced with grapefruit, honey and blanched almond.

Domaine d’Eole, Confidence, IGP Alpilles 2018

Gold, 96 points
100% Roussanne
Attractive and inviting with honeysuckle, vanilla and preserved lemon aromas leading on to nectarine, honey and a dash of sweet oak on the opulent palate.

Domaine de Toasc, Bellet 2018

Gold, 95 points
95% Rolle, 5% Chardonnay
Perfumed and heady with hints of ginger, honey and spiced oak, then to a palate laced with lychee, chamomile, thyme and greengage.

Château Romanin, Grand Vin, Les Baux-de-Provence 2018

Silver, 94 points
69% Rolle, 24% Roussanne, 7% Clairette
Lifted nose of grapefruit, jasmine and toasted lime notes, lead to a palate of pear, apple, yellow plum and lime marmalade.

Baulieu, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2016

Silver, 92 points
60% Rolle, 40% Sauvignon Blanc
Perfumed by cut grass, greengage, lime leaf and hints of lanolin, then to a palate of lime zest and sherbet freshness.

Bernard Van Doren, Domaine de L’Anglade Le Blanc, IGP Maures 2019

Silver, 92 points
38% Sémillon, 34% Rolle, 28% Viognier
Generous and aromatic, with hints of lemon zest, lime and honey, and a rich palate graced with creamy plush stone fruit.

Château Bonisson, Opus 1619, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2019

Silver, 91 points
75% Vermentino, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Clairette
Inviting grapefruit, orchard fruit and asparagus aromatics lead on to a textured peach, preserved lemon and red apple palate.

Château Calissanne, Clos Victoire, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2019

Silver, 90 points
90% Rolle, 10% Sémillon
Lifted floral nose of white flower, yellow plum and citrus, while the palate is zesty with sherbet, grapefruit and lime.

Red

Domaine de la Bégude, La Brulade, Bandol 2017

Platinum, 97 points
95% Mourvèdre, 5% Grenache
Complex nose with deep black berry fruits, spice and hints of polish. Really lovely texture with layers of creamy red and black fruits, spices and powerful but super fine tannins. Great expression of the appellation; powerfully long.

Domaine de la Bégude, Bandol 2017

Platinum, 97 points
93% Mourvèdre, 7% Grenache
Inviting spicy oak, malt and blackberry cream scents. Powerfully structured tannins, spicy liquorice and clove flavours as well as bramble fruit; very long finish. Its best years are far into the future. Terrific stuff.

Château Romanin, La Chapelle, Les Baux-de-Provence 2018

Gold, 96 points
65% Syrah, 18% Grenache, 17% Mourvèdre
Elegant nose of coffee, cocoa, black fruit and spice, then to a plush palate of blackberry, mulberry, seductive oak and fine, rolling tannins.

Château Henri Bonnaud, Quintessence, Palette 2016

Gold, 95 points
30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 30% Carignan
Heady aromas of fennel, liquorice, smoky black cherry and cappuccino, then a minty, herbal palate laced with dried blueberry and underpinned with fine, sophisticated tannins.

Château Romanin, Grand Vin, Les Baux-de-Provence 2015

Gold, 95 points
50% Syrah, 25% Mourvèdre, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon
Opulent nose of coffee bean, sweet dark fruit, tea leaf and spice, then on to a silky palate of blueberry, damson and supple tannins. Bravo!

Domaine de Toasc, Bellet 2016

Gold, 95 points
70% Fuella Nera, 30% Grenache
Inky, plush aromatics of clove, liquorice, spice and blackcurrant lead on to a palate graced with blackberry, coffee and seductive, creamy vanilla oak.

Domaine Richeaume, Tradition, IGP Méditerranée 2017

Gold, 95 points
42% Syrah, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Grenache
Concentrated blue and black fruit aromas. Excellent use of oak and great extract of tannins, retaining freshness to compensate for the alcohol; multilayered palate with flavours of berries, mocha and milk chocolate. Long finish.

Domaine La Suffrène, Les Lauves, Bandol 2017

Silver, 93 points
90% Mourvèdre, 10% Carignan
Black cherry, blueberry and bramble fruit nose. The palate shows a fine dark fruit character, good oak usage and full but fine tannins. Complex and long.

Château d’Estoublon, Les Baux-de-Provence 2016

Silver, 91 points
40% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache
Beautifully perfumed with hints of cinnamon, poached damson and redcurrant, while the palate is textured with dried fruit and well judged oak.

Château Val d’Arenc, Bandol 2017

Silver, 91 points
90% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache
Blackberry jam and smoked meat scents. Lovely developed character with red fruits, meaty complexity and nice tannins. Lovely wine.

Villa Baulieu, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2016

Silver, 91 points
50% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Grenache
Opulent on the nose with layers of bramble, spice and inky dark fruit, rolling tannins and spiced pepper lace the palate.


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