France: Provence

Inland Provence

Côtes de Provence and Coteaux Varois Wines from the Hillsides
By Elizabeth Gabay MW

This Guide was last updated on 12 February 2010
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Domaine des Hautes Collines de la Côte d’Azur

Address: 800 Chemin des Sausses, 06640 Saint Jeannet
Tel: 04 93 24 96 01 
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 43:45:4N (43.75098)    Longitude: 7:9:31E (7.15852) 

The oldest established vineyard of the Vin de Pays des Alpes Maritimes, this vineyard is a lesson in winemaking history and worth visiting even if just to marvel at how M. Rasse and his family have safeguarded the regional tradition of ageing both the rosé and red wines in large glass demijohns out on the road come sun or snow. The rosé has real character and is much more than just a summer quencher; the white wines are fermented and aged in barrique; and the red wines are full bodied and fresh despite their unusual maturation. A sweet wine made from grapes allowed to dry on the vine is made, and in years when the autumns are damp (unfortunately increasingly rare) a second sweet wine is made with botrytis. A third sweet wine is made similar in style to Madeira. M. Rasse is encouraging several other local winemakers to preserve the unique traditions of this area – until the 1950s the hills around here were covered in vines and flowers (for the neighbouring perfume industry) but are now given over to villas. The method of making the wine here is one of the region's best kept secrets.

Useful information: Call in advance. Tasting room in the cellar.


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