Provençal winemakers make rosé from the red grape varieties traditionally grown in the region – grapes best suited to the local soil and climate. Grapes are first made into single-variety wines in small batches. These wines are then blended, in a process called assemblage, to achieve what the producer perceives as the best combination of body, bouquet, and color. The final blend, called the cuvée, is typically made from one main grape variety and various secondary varieties. The most common Provence rosé varieties are, in order of prevalence:
| ||Grenache. [gruh-NAHSH]|
Widely used in the Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence appellation, this variety gives a young wine elegant aromas of small red berries; as it ages, the wine develops spicier notes and increased body and richness.
| ||Cinsault. [SAN-soh]|
This Provence grape was used for many years as a table grape and is widely used in the region's rosé production. It gives the wine a fine, fresh, fruity touch, in contrast to the strength of other varieties.
| ||Syrah. [see-RAH]|
These small, black grapes with bluish highlights produce full-bodied rosés that are particularly suitable for aging. Aged wines develop characteristic notes of vanilla and red berries.
| ||Mourvèdre. [moor-VEH-druh]|
This is a slow-maturing variety that prefers hot, limestone soil and thrives near the sea. The small grapes produce smooth, structured wines with assertive tannins and aromas of violets and blackberries. With age, the wine reveals spicier notes of pepper and cinnamon.
| ||Tibouren. [tee-BOO-rhin]|
This authentic Provence variety is delicate, elegant, and aromatic, lending rosé a particularly rich bouquet. It blends well with other Provence varieties in the assemblage process.
| ||Carignan. [kah-ree-NYAHN]|
Suited to stony soil, this was once a widespread variety in Provence but is now less prevalent. Produced on slopes where yields are low, Carignan produces deeply colored and highly structured wines that serve as an excellent base for assemblage.
Cabernet Sauvignon. [ka-behr-NAY soh-vee-NYAWN]
Less common in Provence, this varietal adds a tannic structure to the wine. Its characteristic nose of green pepper and black currant set it apart from other varieties.