By Paul Caputo

In the far South East of France is the stunningly beautiful region of Provence. Known around the world for its evocative patchwork of colours - rolling green hills, vivid purple blankets of lavender, and deep blue vistas of the Mediterranean - this once ignored wine region is gradually earning a reputation for high quality wines.

Extending nearly 200km between the Mediterranean and the Alps, the mixed topography of Provence is well suited to wine making. Between rocky, volcanic mountain ranges and flat sandy beaches is a plethora of valleys and hillsides perfect for the cultivation of more than a dozen grape varieties.

Like most Mediterranean wine regions, summers are long and hot, but tempered by sea breezes, while winters are typically cool and mild. Local climatic conditions provide specific challenges however. Rain, for example, is quite rare, but when it does occur it can often arrive with heavy storms and impart substantial damage to vineyards.

Appellations of Provence

Bandol AOC

Bandol is one of Provence’s top wines. It produces tannic red wines from Mourvèdre, capable of ageing many years, as well as small amount of white and rosé Bandol.

Read more ▸ 19 producers41 wines

Bouches-du-Rhône IGP

Bouches-du-Rhône is a recent IGP appellation covering a smaller area of the Méditerranée. The majority of production under this label is red, with wines made from a range of different varieties, notably Grenache, Carignan and Syrah.

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Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence AOC

Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence is a flexible appellation in the South of France producing red and rose wines from Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and sometimes Counoise. Whites are made from Bourboulenc, Vermentino, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Sauvignon and Sémillon.

Read more ▸ 5 producers7 wines

Coteaux de Pierrevert AOC

Coteaux de Pierrevert is one of the smallest and highest appellations in France. Only a handful of producers operate in this little enclave of western Provence. Red, white and rose wines are produced from Provence’s traditional varieties.

Read more ▸ 1 producer1 wine