Wine Tasting in Provence
In Provence, we visit wine estates – or rather, we visit ‘caves’ – to conduct business.
For many, the word Provence conjures images of lavender fields, sunflowers and hilltop villages.
The Provence I know is all that and more. Its vineyards stretch out across small mountains, a thousand shades of green punctuated by the silvery leaves of olive trees; the sound of cicadas in the early evening and balmy summer days. More than that, it’s platters of fruit, cheeses and baguettes (without butter) being torn apart and devoured in the company of friends and strangers, while we banter over a bottle of wine.
You see, I’ve been to Provence more times than I can remember… I was born there and moved to South Africa when I was three and have returned almost every year since.
How to Wine In Provence
Not once in all those years have I ever been wine tasting. Conventional tastings in South Africa include travelling vast distances to a particular wine estate and sampling three to five glasses for the sole purpose of experiencing different wines and having fun. In Provence, we visit wine estates – or rather, we visit ‘caves’ – to conduct business.
It’s the business of leisurely enjoyment that the French are known for. It usually involves going to whatever cave is nearest or en route, and involves sampling two or three different wines with the aim of walking away with a few bottles.
The label on the bottle rarely, in my experience, has anything to do with our choice. Instead, we buy from the winemakers we know personally because they stay in the same small village we are in or someone recommended we go to them. We then take them home to enjoy with our lunches or dinners, our baguettes and our cheese platters.
We don’t go for wine tastings because there isn’t a need: all wine is fantastic wine in Provence.
First published on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust (November 2019)