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It's already February 2021, we're in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and trying our hardest to create the new normal while waiting with bated breath to return to the regular normal. Luckily, some things have remained the regular normal. Things such as our blogging community of French wine enthusiasts and professionals who meet every month for a virtual bonanza of wine. This month the #winophiles, as we are known, are exploring the red wines of Provence. When we hear wine and Provence in the same sentence we almost always think rosé wines of all shades made from grapes growing in impossibly sunny and clement weather. But Provence has more to offer than delicately coloured rosé wines and visions of lavender fields near the Mediterranean sea. Provence in fact, makes red, white, and rosé wines from a variety of grapes... something for everyone and for all foods.
Red wine grapes include varieties found throughout much of France such as Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Tannat, Counoise, Cinsault, and of course, Cabernet Sauvignon, but also grapes not often seen elsewhere like Folle Noir (a favourite!), Calitour, Tibouren, Barbaroux, and Braquet. All in all about 36 grape varieties are allowed in Provence spanning a few different countries including Spain and Italy, although in Provence they are generally known by their French/Provençal names.
Provence has 9 viticultural regions or AOCs (Appellation de’Origin Contrôlée). Among those, the ones known for red wine are Bandol (arguably the most famous Provençal red wine AOC), Baux de Provence, Palette, Bellett, and the newest AOC (since 1998), Pierrevert. Provence red wines, although not as known as their sublime coloured siblings, the rosés, are in fact as serious a series of wines as any other.
Provençal reds are complex, exceptionally food friendly, and cellar-worthy for years. One of my favourite pairings is lamb cooked with an elaborate mix of spices... it works hand-in-glove with the best of garrigue-laden Provence reds. Have I convinced you yet to visit, revisit, and dive into Provençal red wine offerings? Grab a bottle or two of your choice and explore with us on Twitter on 20 February 2021 at 8 AM PST under the hashtag #winophiles to talk about all things Provence red wines. To inspire you, here's a snippet of what you can expect from some of us:
- Camilla from https://culinary-adventures-with-cam.blogspot.com/ is presenting "Provençal Pork Stew + Clos Cibonne Cuvee Speciale Rouge 2019"
- Wendy from https://adayinthelifeonthefarm.blogspot.com/ shares "Beef Daube Provencal with a Bandol Rouge"
- Payal at https://keepthepeas.blogspot.com is having "A Bandol Red and Lamb Biryani"
- Jane from https://alwaysravenous.com/ is showcasing "Provencal Braised Beef with Bandol Rouge"
- Lynn over at https://savortheharvest.com/ has for us "Winning Red Wines from Provence with Lamb Meatballs: Domaine Hauvette and Clos Cibonne"
- Susannah from https://avvinare.com/ is telling us how "Beef stew and A Glass of Bandol Rouge Warms the Heart"