France: Provence

Aix en Provence and Les Baux

Wines from Aix en Provence and Les Baux de Provence
By Liz Berry MW

This Guide was last updated on 16 February 2010
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Main grape varieties


This late ripener thrives well in the warm, sunny Provencal climate especially in areas with a maritime influence. Produces well-structured, deep-coloured wines with good intense fruit. It provides the structure in blends with Grenache and Cinsault.

Widely planted variety used in red wine blends and also rosés. Adds depth and richness, but can also produce rather high alcohol wines.

Adds life expectancy and class to typical Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre blends, and is increasingly partnered with Cabernet Sauvignon.

A high yielding variety that is resistant to drought. Results in light soft reds and is particularly suitable in rosé blends since it adds freshness, alcohol and fruity aromas.

Ancient Mediterranean variety that is robust and productive resulting in wines with high acidity, tannins and colour that are best blended with Grenache and Cinsault. Considerable amounts of Carignan have been ripped up as a solution to the general wine surplus problem.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Growing in popularity throughout, providing colour, structure and aroma.

Increasingly popular variety for its high yields giving well coloured soft ripe fruit, although the wines tend to be a little flat if not blended with other varieties.

Petit Verdot
This little known variety is starting to find a following in Provence, producing very individual, highly aromatic and very spicy wines of great character. Not an officially 'recognised' grape variety, the wines are sold as Vin de Pays and sometimes even Vin de Table.


Ugni Blanc
An Italian variety (Trebbiano) originally imported and planted by the papal court in Avignon. Used extensively in white wine blends.

Traditional variety that thrives on dry soils. In unsuitable sites and with high yields can result in flabby wines, and is therefore often blended with Ugni Blanc. However, in suitable sites, it can produce well structured wines, which age well, although the acidity is quite low.

Ancient white variety, cultivated throughout southern France, thought to have originated from Greece. Blends well with Grenache Blanc.

More commonly associated with Roussanne in the Rhône. Its good productivity has increased its popularity. Modern wine making techniques have ironed out its tendency to produce flabby wines. Useful blending ingredient especially with Rolle.

This variety, identical to the Vermentino of Corsica, is used particularly for aromatic whites. Adds elegance to the structure of blends.

Adds texture, body and richness to blends.

Sauvignon Blanc
Small amounts of this classic, high acid variety may be used in blends.

This northern Rhône variety is gaining popularity in Provence, providing an aromatic floral character to blends.

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