To truly experience Provence and its fantastic wines, you should go there and visit the wine estates that produce wines you like. And, in addition to meeting friendly wine producers, you can enjoy Provence’s beautiful and varied nature and, of course, the French culture and cuisine.
Usually, the most rewarding visits are at small family-owned wine estates where the same person, or a small team, cover the whole chain from planting the vines to the sale of the wine. Such producers put their soul into the winemaking and know every detail in each part of the process – particularly interesting for a wine tourist who wants to learn! If you see the symbol “Vigneron Indépendant”, there is a good chance that the producer works with all steps of the wine production.
Many larger wine estates have built nice visitors’ centres and tasting rooms and you will certainly have an interesting visit there, but you will probably not have the chance to meet the winemaker in person and to talk with the people working in the vineyard and with production.
Vinotheque /Maison des Vins
There are Vinotheques, called Maison des Vins, in several appellations and as they are supported by the branch organization you can in many of them freely taste several wines from the appellation. If you have not found your favourite producer, or have not read recommendations in my Provence wine book, these Maison des Vins could be good places to start with.
Côtes de Provence
At the vinothèque “Maison des Vins” (www.maison-des-vins.fr ) outside Les Arcs-sur-Argens you can taste the week’s 16 wines for free and buy 800 Côtes de Provence wines at the same price as at the wine estates, so it is a good place to find your favourite producers that are worth a visit. A team of wine specialists will accompany you in the discovery of Côtes de Provence wines.
Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire
The vinothèque for this sub-appellation is “Vinothèque Sainte-Victoire” (www.vins-sainte-victoire.com ) that is in a natural setting right next to the Sainte-Victoire Mountain in Saint-Antonin-sur-Bayon some kilometres east of Aix-en-Provence. Here you can taste the week’s 6 wines for free and buy wines at the same price as at the wine estates.
Coteaux Varois en Provence
The vinothèque for Coteaux Varois en Provence is in La Celle just south-west of Brignoles, “Maison des Vins Coteaux Varois en Provence” (www.coteaux-varois.com). The vinothèque is located close to Abbey of La Celle.
Maison des Vins Coteaux Varois en Provence in La Celle
There is a vinothèque for Bandol wines in the town of Bandol, ” Œnothèque des Vins de Bandol” (http://www.maisondesvins-bandol.com/fr/contact.cfm ) just at the Mediterranean Sea and one in the little mountain village Le Castellet “Maison des Vins de Bandol” (http://www.maisondesvins-bandol.com/fr/contact.cfm ).
Alternatively, you can buy wines from cavistes where you will find many French wines, but perhaps not so many from Provence. Below are some cavistes that I by experience know have a selection of quality wines from Provence.
My favourite caviste is Cave au Moulin au Château in Mandelieu, they have both the famous producers as well as a selection of good wines from small less known producers.
Cavistes where you mainly find the famous producers are:
1862 Wines & Spirits
5 Rue du Maréchal Joffre, 06400 Cannes
www.1862wines.com Phone: +33 (0)493 39 44 56
More tips for your wine touring can be found in my book: ”The Wines of Provence – Tricolour”
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Provence expert Göran Boman, Author of the books “Provence – Vita, röda och även roséviner” and “The Wines of Provence – Tricolour “.