By Paul Caputo

Saint-Victoire is one of Provence’s high quality ‘break away’ appellations. Covering around three-thousand hectares to the east of Aix-en-Provence, in the heart of the Côtes de Provence appellation, these sheltered valleys consistently bring the perfect conditions for low intervention viticulture. It is known for its rich and robust red wines, and elegant rosé.

Located at the foot of the Saint-Victoire Mountain, surrounded by pine trees and olive groves, nine villages were deemed eligible for the appellation. Pourcieux and Pourrières are both in the Var department, while the remaining seven - Châteauneuf-le-Rouge, Le Tholonet, Meyreuil, Peynier, Puyloubier, Rousset and Trets - are in the Bouches-du-Rhône. Following an intensive cataloguing and detailed analysis of the area’s vineyards the decision was made in 2005 to grant Sainte-Victoire its own AOC.

Despite its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, Saint-Victoire experiences elements of a continental climate. Protected from maritime influences to the south by the Monts Auréliens and the Sainte-Baume Mountain Range, it covers the rocky hillsides of the upper Arc Valley. Sainte-Victoire’s rocky ridge confirms this continental micro-climate and reduces the impact of the Mistral wind. Many growers consider the Mistral to be beneficial however, aerating the vines and lowering the risk from disease.