All wine lovers know that the typicity of a wine comes largely from the geology of the wine region. The wines of the Côtes de Provence appellation express all the complexity of the terroir, and more particularly of the soils of Provence. Let's go into detail about the complex geology of Provence , and its impact on Côtes de Provence wines .
A Provençal landscape marked by geodiversity
With more than 20,000 hectares of vines, the AOP Côtes de Provence offers such an area that numerous geological groups coexist.
The two major groups of Provence
When we talk about the geological sites of Provence , two large groups emerge and shape the landscape and the typicality of red wines, rosé wines and white wines.
- Limestone Provence : in the north and west of Provence, limestone soils stretch around remarkable sites, such as the Sainte-Baume massif, the Sainte Victoire mountain, or the Verdon Gorges, but also the Beausset basin. The limestone bars and hills then benefit from clay-limestone soil that is both rich and filtering, ensuring a good balance for the vines;
- Crystalline massifs : further south and east, the soils of Provence are changing and are essentially composed of eruptive rock formed more than 350 million years ago. The landscape also changes, and small mountains alternate with hills. The soil is then poor and well drained, which is particularly suitable for growing vines.
Other geologies of Provence
The 20,000 hectares of vines are not limited to limestone Provence and crystalline soils. Along the wine routes, you can discover very varied geologies:
- A Triassic plateau marked by sandstone soil, dolomitic formations and marls;
- A Permian depression composed of red earth and red volcanic rocks...
Côtes de Provence wines are very varied, marked by poor, well-drained soils , helped by a Mediterranean climate generous with sunshine.
A varied geology which gives varied Côtes de Provence
Each wine estate located in the Côtes de Provence geographical area has a unique terroir, which allows winegrowers to produce white wines, rosé wines and red wines marked by their typicity. The 84 communes of the appellation, spread over 3 departments (Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and Alpes-Maritimes), are then home to varied wine estates, which produce Provence wines of a beautiful variety.
The multiple personalities of Provence wines can then be explained by the unique characters of the 8 production areas of the AOC Côtes de Provence. These terroir denominations all benefit from a unique climate and geology, and there are mainly 5 geographical denominations which mark the typicality of their wines:
- Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire;
- Côtes de Provence La Londe;
- Côtes de Provence Pierrefeu;
- Côtes de Provence Notre-Dame des Anges;
- Côtes de Provence Fréjus.
Grape varieties adapted to the geologies of Provence
The specificities of the soils of Provence are particularly appreciated by certain red and white grape varieties. Among the black grape varieties , Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Tibouren and Mourvèdre flourish and take full advantage of the warm climate and maritime influence. As for the white grape varieties , Clairette, Sémillon, Rolle (Vermentino) and Ugni Blanc find their interest in these poor soils and this mild climate.
These grape varieties then draw from the soil all the nutrients they need, and make it possible to produce elegant Côtes de Provence wines, with complex aromas and a fresh finish. We then appreciate the notes of red fruits and yellow fruits, the citrus aromas and the floral notes which give all the charm to these southern wines .
Rosé wine: the expression of the terroir of Provence
Rosé wines represent more than 90% of Provençal wine production. And if this is explained by the fact that Provence is the cradle of rosé wine, the diversity of soils also comes into play. Indeed, the grape varieties used to produce rosé wine are particularly greedy for Provençal soils. Thus, Syrah, Cinsault, and even Cabernet Sauvignon enjoy the sun, wind and poor soils.
Then, the hand of man intervenes to sublimate the product, with vinification by direct pressing, by maceration, or with the traditional rosé wine of saignée.
The geology of Provence offers such diversity that this results in AOP Côtes de Provence wines that are very different from each other. Thus, the wines produced on the Berne wine estate reflect all the specificity of the terroir of the Provencal hinterland , and are marked by a unique character that you can discover during a visit to the estate's tasting cellar.