Unsure of what Provence wine to drink in the south of France this summer, here’s an alternative approach to choosing your wine. Just sit back and relax and soak up the Provence sunshine with a glass of light red…
Sometimes well-meaning advice can have an unintentionally negative effect. Years ago in Burgundy I met a wine expert who whispered conspiratorially into my ear ‘the wine speaks of the people.’ It took me a few weeks to decipher this cryptic comment, but in the end I understood that as a tourist I was being advised to drink local wine. Through the wine, I would come to have a better appreciation of the region and its people.
Sound advice it was too and with a few exceptions I have followed it ever since. Particularly living where I do. Pink wine and Provence is one of the classic marriages of the wine world, sipping on a glass of pale rosé in the sun, inhaling the pungent scents of the summer garrigue, the wine might not speak, but it definitely murmurs.
However, in the heat of July and August, when the time comes to uncork a bottle of local red things have gone wrong in the past. The reds, are punchy, fruity, robust wines, perfect for the cold winter evenings of Provence, but sip on them while the crickets are singing and the weight of the alcohol becomes all too apparent. In 30 degree airless heat, nobody wants a thumping middle-of-the-night hangover. For a clear head in the night and the mornings, its best to look further afield. Here’s my selection of light summer reds. Whisper it quietly, and heresy as I know it is, slightly chilled they can even beat a lunchtime bottle of rosé.
1. Beaujolais Piron – €8.80 per bottle
Excellent wine merchant VinCommeVin in Apt stocks this 100% Gamay Beaujolais Villages, which will work well with almost every summer meal.
I have great relationship with this top quality Loire producer. Their claim to fame is that they supplied the pink wine at Simon Cowell’s 50 birthday celebrations. But showbiz connections apart, I adore drinking their 100% pinot noir red in the summer months. I can’t find a local stockist, but most Provence supermarkets will have an alternative decent red Sancerre.
The slopes of Mont Ventoux take the heat-baked edge of this excellent Grenache/Syrah entry-level red from this Parker-acclaimed vineyard (pictured above), leaving fresh spicy aromas. Well worth a visit to pick up some great wines for a summer in the sun. They also make a couple of very decent rosés, even if they are Cote du Ventoux and not Cote de Provence!
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