The Wines of Provence
Provence was once home to painter Paul Cézanne (1839–1906); F. Scott Fitzgeral (1896–1940) who, while in Provence, wrote The Great Gatsby; and Renaissance physician/clairvoyant, Michel de Nostredame aka: Nostradamus (1503–1566).
Here you'll find exquisite cuisine such as:
Tapanade made with local olives served with fresh baked bread
Bouillabaisse, a classic seafood soup from Marsaille
Ratatouille, the traditional stewed vegetables which originated in Nice
Calissons, almond-shaped confection with candied fruit and royal icing
Local food calls for local wines and in Provence you find mostly dry rosé wines, usually made from Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. A small percentage of the wines in Provence are red using the same grape varieties as well as some Syrah and Carignan with an even smaller offering of white wines from Clairette, Sémillon and Vermentino.
Bandol Rosé Wines
Bandol is an AOC found within Provence close to the coast. The terroir is suited to the late-ripening grape, Mourvèdre which by law must account for at least half of the blend. Most of the wine produced in Bandol is red. However, thier rosé wines that have become recognized internationally. In the vineyard, yields are low and harvest is carried out completely by hand. Thus, the wines are rare and highly sought-after.
Value Wines in Languedoc-Rousillon
It's no wonder Languedoc-Rousillon is known as one of the world's best travel destinations. Soft white sand, crystal blue water, bustling market places and fabulous food are just the beginning. Found in the central part of Southern France, Languedoc is known for robust reds but also offers a wide variety of wine styles. If you're a wine enthusiast that wants to save a little money, Languedoc offers great value. It used to have a reputation for producing mainly bulk wines, but that isn't the case anymore. Now you'll find rich, full-bodied red blends along side crisp, racy whites, and elegant rosés, all with tonnes of personality that tell stories and speak to the terroir.
Sparkling Wine from Limoux
Limoux is a small region within the Languedoc. The main white grape variety is Mauzac Blanc, known to the locals as Blanquette, followed by plantings of Chardonnay and some Chenin Blanc. The red wines are always blended in threes with no two varieties exceeding 90% of the blend. In Limoux, Merlot is king of the red grapes with Grenache, Syrah and Malbec making up the rest of the red blends.
Champagne has become the most recognized region for sparkling wine, while few know that Limoux started making sparkling wine before Champagne. Benedictine monks kept records of their winemaking at the abbey of Saint Hilaire and it was 1531 when a record of sparkling wine appeared there. Legend has it that Dom Pérignon traveled to the abbey in Limoux on his way to Spain, learned the process of making sparkling wine from the monks of Saint Hilaire and later took credit for its discovery. None of this can be substantiated, but it does make a great story.
What's great about the sparkling wines of Limoux, the are offered at a fraction of the cost of Champagne and some of the other prestigious sparkling wines of France. Although the quality of wine is there, without the reputation of Champagne, it is impossible to charge the same luxury pricing. What that means is you get quality bubbles at a reasonable price point.
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