Top Expert Tips for Wine Touring and Tasting in Provence
Author and wine expert Göran Boman shares tips for wine tasting and exploring the vineyards in Provence.
This part of the South of France includes wine-growing areas stretching within the urban limits of Nice on the French Riviera to the Northern Rhône Valley. While wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, villages such as Gigondas and Rasteau in Côtes du Rhône and seaside sensations Cassis and Bandol are familiar, there is much to discover in the vast geography.
Generally speaking, more extensive wine operations have begun creating wine experiences with attractive boutiques, facility tours and, in a few cases, restaurants. However, wine touring in Provence requires some explanation for visitors who have experienced wine marketing in California or the Okanagan Valley in Canada. Göran Boman explains why you should visit the wine estate in the region.
Usually, the most rewarding visits are at small family-owned wine estates where the same person, or a small team, covers the whole chain, from planting the vines to selling the wine. Such producers put their soul into the winemaking and know every detail in each part of the process – particularly interesting for a wine tourist who wants to learn! If you see the symbol “Vigneron Indépendant,” there is a good chance that the producer works with all steps of the wine production.
Many larger wine estates have built visitors’ centres and tasting rooms, and you will undoubtedly have an interesting visit. However, you will probably not have the chance to meet the winemaker in person and talk with the people working in the vineyard and with production.
Vinotheque /Maison des Vins
There are Vinotheques, called Maison des Vins, in several appellations, and as the branch organization supports them, you can, in many of them, freely taste several wines from the appellation. If you have not found your favourite producer or have not read recommendations in my Provence wine book, these Maison des Vins could be good places to start.
Alternatively, you can buy wines from cavistes, where you will find many French wines, but perhaps not many from Provence. Continue reading here for the original article with Göran’s list of suggestions for vinotheques and cavistes.
Göran Boman, the author of The Wines of Provence – Tricolour, is based in Sweden, far from Provence’s vineyards. His studies at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology led to a career with large international companies. Before retiring, Göran monitored the quality of nuclear fuel transmitted from EDF France to Sweden.
About 25 years ago, he joined Munskänkarna (“Cup-bearers”) for wine tastings and education. The association is the world’s largest non-commercial wine-tasting group with 30,000 members, mainly in Sweden and Provence.
If you love Provencal wines, his book should be essential for you. Göran Boman covers 58 wine producers in his book and recommends 338 wines, not just rosé wines. Use the book as a guide to discovering these wines and their producers. His goal is to deepen your knowledge of everything worth knowing about the wines of Provence.