Wine and food pairing tips
Food and Wine Pairing
  Provence Wine  
Cotes de Provence wine and food pairing

Côtes de Provence

Around half of France's rosé wine is made in this area. By far the biggest appellation, diversity of topography and climate make it extremely disparate. Zones range from the coastal area around St Tropez to cooler hill sites north of Draguignan. Three sub-appellations were granted to the Côtes de Provence appellation in 2005, named after the communes of Frejus, Sainte-Victoire and La Londe. They are reserved for red and rosé wines only. The rosés de Provence are light, fruity, soft and aromatic.

Tips: They fit perfectly with traditional dishes of Provencal cuisine : ratatouille, sea bass with fennel, red mullet fillet with thyme, garlic mayonnaise, pesto soup. They will also accompany Japanese sushi, Thai food, Moroccan tagines or Indian curry. They should be served at 8-10 degrees.
The red wines of Provence. Young, these are crisp and fruity and can accompany grilled meat with fragrant Provence herbs, white meat, leg of lamb, vegetables tians or tomatoes with olive oil. Barrel-aged reds agree perfectly with more powerfull meats dishes, casseroles, stews, game or cheeses. They should be served at 14-16 degrees for young wines and 16-18 degrees for more mature wines.
Coteaux d'Aix en Provence wine and food pairing tips

Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence

The area around the historic town of Aix-en-Provence produces wines in three colors. This westernmost part of Provence is a relatively new appellation, stretching north to south from the Luberon to the Mediterranean and east to west from the town of Aix-en-Provence to the Rhone Valley. Bounded on the east by the Sainte Victoire Mountain and on the southwest by the Alpilles mountain chain, the vineyards cover some 50 villages. The vines are planted at an altitude of anywhere between sea level and 400 meters. The area's traditional grape varieties - Grenache, Cinsault, and Mourvedre - have recently been enhanced by the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon. This has improved the aging potential of many of the area's reds.

Tips: Young and fruity, with soft tannins, they can accompany grilled meats and gratins. They reach full matury after two or three years and are great with meat sauce and game.
Les Baux de Provence wine and food pairing tips

Les Baux-de-Provence

This tiny district, in the northwest corner of Provence, used to be part of the Coteaux d'Aix appellation, but was given an independent AOC status for reds and roses in 1994. The vineyards are located around the renowned, spectacular hilltop medieval village, Les Baux-de-Provence. This is one of the most dynamic appellations in Provence, with many quality conscious producers. They have been practicing almost exclusively organic viticulture for many years, aided by a warm, dry climate in which the risks of rot and disease are lessened. Red wines dominate (80 percent of the production); most of them are deeply-colored and full-bodied. Made predominantly from the classic Rhône combination (Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah), they have a definite southern Rhône feel to them. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is only 32 km to the north.

Tips: The ripe yet firm reds pair wonderfully with grilled meats in their youth, but can also age very well.
Coteaux Varois wine grape

Coteaux Varois

This district is located in the hilly central Provence, between the Côtes de Provence and the Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence. Centered around the town of Brignoles and named after the Var departement in which it is located, the Coteaux Varois was made an AOC in 1993. rosés dominate the production. The grape varieties are much the same as in CCôtes de Provence: Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Cabernet. What marks the difference is the location of the vineyards, which are inland away from the coast and all at a higher, cooler altitude, making the wines a little more aromatic.

Tips: Rosés are excellent with Provençal cuisine: Ratatouille, barigoule artichokes, stuffed Proven&cdedil;al vegetables, bass with fennel, aioli, pistou soup, anchovy, bouillabaisse. They are also great with Japanese sushi, Thai cuisine, Moroccan tagines or Indian curry. Serve at 8-10 degrees.
Bandol wine and food pairing tips


Provence's most serious appellation takes its name from the town of Bandol, an old fishing village and a popular vacation resort in southwest Provence. Eight villages make up the Bandol AOC zone; the best vineyards being on the hillsides a couple of miles in from the coast which form a terraced amphitheater overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. This coastal appellation is know for its red wines but also makes some serious, savory rosés and tiny quantities of crisp, fruity whites. They are slowly but surely acquiring a reputation outside of the region.

Red Bandol is mainly made from the Mourvèdre grape (50% minimum and up to 95%) combined with Grenache and Cinsault. It is aged for a minimum of 18 months in oak casks, producing a full, round, and rich wine with much aging potential.

Tips: The Mourvèdre grape variety tends to produce wines with a strong musc and game character, and is best paired with strong flavored meats. Bandol reds age wonderfully over decades, and are a great value alternative to Bordeaux for the cellar.
For the rosés, the Mourvedre, Grenache and Cinsault grape varieties offer good structure, despite the delicate pale-salmon color. They are drunk young and are attractive due to their freshness, while their complexity allows for a wide range of food pairings.
Whites are also produced in small quantity from the Clairette, Bourboulenc and Ugni Blanc grape varieties.
Cassis wine and food pairing tips


One of France's oldest appellation, it takes its name from the pretty fishing port, several miles east of Marseille and west of Bandol.
Cassis is a small AOC district on the coast where white wines dominate. They are made mainly from Clairette and Marsanne and go perfectly with the local fish specialities. The small quantity of rosé and red wines made from Mourvedre, Cinsaut and Grenache are best drunk young. The rosés are pleasant, as are the dense and deep-colored reds.

Tips: Whites pairs best with all types of seafood and shellfish, especially with the local fish specialities. However, it also pairs perfectly with chicken, veal, pork dishes.
For the rosés, the Mourvedre, Grenache and Cinsault grape varieties offer good structure, despite the delicate pale-salmon color. They are drunk young and are attractive due to their freshness, while their complexity allows for a wide range of food pairings.
Ballet wines and food pairing tips


One of France's smallest appellations, Bellet is perched high up in the hills above the city of Nice.
The cool hill sites are suited to the production of fresh, aromatic white wines made from Rolle (a grape variety shared with parts of western Italy), Roussanne, Chardonnay, and Clairette. The reds are made from the original Braquet and Fuella grape varieties. Most of the wine is consumed locally.

Tips: Serve a white Bellet with seafood, Mediterranean cuisine, or hard cheeses. For the reds, a rabbit stew cooked in the same wine that will be served at the table. Serve chilled rosés with Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. Perfectly suited with spicy dishes.
Palette wines and food pairing tips


Palette is a very small appellation, east of Aix-en-Provence, just north of Marseille. Because of the local soils, Palette's wines stand out from those of the much-larger appellations that effectively surround it. Production here is dominated by a single producer, Chateau Simone, which owns roughly half of the appellation vineyards. This estate produces rich, long-lived reds, rosés, and white wines, though the latter is the most renowned. The list of grape varieties permitted under the Palette appellation is one of the most extensive, with no fewer than 16 allowed in the white wines and 15 in the reds.

Tips: Palette offers the best cellaring potential for Provence whites. Don't be afraid to hold onto these for several years to fully integrate their oak aging. Reds will be great on a braised meat, serve at 16 degrees C. A rosé goes perfectly with grilled fish (served between 10 and 13 degrees C) while the whites should be served with a noble fish such as the sea bass (temperature at 11 degrees C).
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