Provence (Provençal) wine comes from the French wine-producing region of Provence in southeast France. The Romans called the area provincia nostra (“our province”), giving the region its name. Just south of the Alps, it was the first Roman province outside Italy.
Wine has been made in this region for at least 2,600 years, ever since the ancient Greeks founded the city of Marseille in 600 BC. Throughout the region’s history, viticulture and winemaking have been influenced by the cultures that have been present in Provence, which include the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Gauls, Catalans and Savoyards. These diverse groups introduced a large variety of grapes to the region, including grape varieties of Greek and Roman origin as well as Spanish, Italian and traditional French wine grapes.
Today the region is known predominantly for its rosé wine, though wine critics such as Tom Stevenson believe that region’s best wines are the spicy, full-flavoured red wines. Rosé wine currently accounts for more than half of the production of Provençal wine, with red wine accounting for about a third of the region’s production. White wine is also produced in small quantities throughout the region with the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) region of Cassis specializing in white wine production. The Côtes de Provence is the largest AOC followed by the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence. The Bandol region near Toulon is one of the more internationally recognized Provençal wine regions.