Raise Your Glass to French Wines
The Var Department is located in the Provence region of southeast of France. Var is known for its harbor, its many picturesque seaside resorts and, like many other departments in the area, Var is also known for the huge variety of fine wine that is produced there. In terms of types of wine, Var Department produces a concentration of 80% rosés, 17% red wines, and 3% white wines. These wines are among some of the most exquisite and sought after wines in the world, making a visit to Var a must for connoisseurs and amateur wine drinkers alike.
The red wines produced in the Var Department are made from a number of different grape varieties, which flourish in the near-perfect climate and environment of the area. These grapes include:
- Grenache – The Grenache grape is among the most widely planted red wine grape in the world. The taste it produces is generally described as spicy, with a strong tone of berry and is smooth on the palate.
- Cinsaut – This red wine grape variety is known for its unique tolerance of heat, making it a perfect choice for the Var Department vineyards. Rather than being used alone, the Cinsaut is usually blended with other grapes like Grenache and Carignan, which help to add softness.
- Mouvedre – This international grape variety is typically used to produce bold, dark red wines as well as rosés. The wines produced from Mouvedre grapes are often described as having a wild or earthy taste, with soft, fruity undertones. It is frequently blended with Grenache grapes to add softness and structure.
- Syrah – These dark-skinned grapes are used to produce strong, powerful wines, such as Shiraz, which are popular across the globe. Syrah is also often blended with other varieties to produce unique blends.
Although white wines are not nearly as popular as the red varieties in the Var Department, there are still quite a few popular ones produced there. The white wine grapes grown in Var include:
- Clairette Blanche – This white grape is known for producing high-alcohol wines that are low in acidity. For this reason, Clairette Blanche is often blended with high-acid varieties to balance it out.
- Grenache Blanc – This grape is related to the red Grenache variety. Like the Clairette Blanche, Grenache Blanc grapes produce wine that is characterized by low acid and high alcohol levels. The white wines produced by this grape are often described as featuring a citrus or herbaceous flavor.
Of all the wines produced in the Provence region, perhaps none is more widely regarded and internationally recognized as the Bandol AOC. The area’s rich soil and the warm, coastal climate create the perfect environment for grape production, and all of the grape varieties listed above are used in some concentration in the production of Bandol. Red Bandol wine is characterized by dark, rich color and bold flavors of black fruit, cinnnamon, vanilla and leather. These wines typically have to age for at least 10 years, some of which is spent in oak, before fully developing. White Bandol wines are primarily made up of a blend of Clairette, Bourboulenc and Ugni blanc. Bandol rosés are characterized by spicy undertones and earthy flavors, with some exhibiting notes of strawberry notes.