1.50pm - Meeting point at Aix en Provence Tourism Office
2.00pm Depart from Aix en Provence
2.45pm Visit & Wine tasting at 1st Winery
4.00pm Visit & Wine tasting at 2nd Winery
5.30pm Return to Aix en Provence
Meet your English Speaking Driver/Guide who is a local Expert of Provence Wines
Upon arrival at the meeting point, you will be welcomed by your English speaking guide. Once you have met your Provence Wine Expert guide, he/she will go over the program and itinerary of this half day with you. Then, board your comfortable, premium air-conditioned minivan and begin to make your way to the Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire wine producing region.
The Sainte-Victoire Mountain
One of the most symbolic locations of the Provence as Mont Ventoux or Sainte-Baume Mountain range, the site was labelled as a 'Great Site of France' in 2004 being a jewel of natural heritage. Located to the East of Aix en Provence, this wooded area still retains forest, agricultural and pastoral activities that have shaped this unique Provence landscape overlooked by the stone monument that is Sainte-Victoire Mountain painted so vigorously by Paul Cézanne.
Depart for the Côtes de Provence Wine region
In a small group of maximum 8 persons, your half day tour from Aix en Provence to the Sainte-Victoire mountain wine producing area will begin as you travel through stunning landscapes. The A.OC. Côtes de Provence wine region extends over more than 19 000 hectares (47 000 acres) and represent 3/4 of the production of Provence wines.
With its exceptional location especially when it comes to sunshine, the geology of the soil varies with the north-western part of the wine region mainly made up to limestone hills while in the south-western part the soil is essentially crystalline. This diversity of soils induce a wide variety of wines with reds, whites and rosés being produced with a number of traditional & local grape varieties such as Grenache, Syrah, cinsault, clairette to name a few.
What the wine region is the famous for, however, are the Rosés produced here. 80% of the whole production is made up of Rosé. The maine aromas that can be found in these wines are white & yellow fruits, vanilla or hazelnut.
The Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire Territory
The Sainte-Victoire Mountain wine region was recognized as an A.O.P territory in 2005 for both the red and rosé wines. This recognition came after years of hard work made by the winemakers to establish that the local 'terroir' was unique and should be highlighted within the Côtes de Provence wine region.
The territory benefits from a wide variety of geological features and landscapes, a warm and dry climate enhanced by the Mistral wind the local wine growers best friend as it chases away many diseases that can impact vines.
There are three types of wines that are produced here: Rosé wines have a pale color with a high aromatic complexity. The main notes are floral, fresh fruits as well as exotic fruits to which can be added spices and aromas.
The red wines, depending on the grape varieties used, are fresh and can be laid down. Red wines of Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire can be suttle with notes of red fruits or flowers. Some red wines can also be very generous, mostly full bodied as they are aged in oak vats known as Foudres or Foeders or traditional oak barrels. These red wines can definitely be laid down for years as they will develop deep velvety flavors over time.
Finally, the white wines are traditionally 'Blanc de Blanc' which means that they are made only with white grape varieties. They offer nice colors of pale gold with reflections of green. Sainte-Victoire white wines are known to be well balanced between freshness and unctuousness.
Visit 2 carefully selected wineries
Once you have reached the Côtes de Provence wine region, it will be time to visit & wine taste in two carefully selected family owned wineries. In each winery, you will first be introduced to the estate, it's history and the life of the family who owns it.
Then, your visit will focus on the wine making process. Visit the technical installations to better understand how the wines are made. This will be a most interesting part of your tour as the process to make red, white or rosé wines differ. Once you have seen the Vat Room, discover the ageing cellars. This is the time when you will be explained how important it can be to age wine in oak barrels, the work of coopers and how they 'toast' the barrels.
End the tour with the best part of the experience, tasting wine. Fruity Rosés, elegant and well balanced whites or full bodied red wines will be on your program. After the tastings, it will be time to return to Aix en Provence.