La Bernarde Cotes de Provence Blanc Les Hauts de Luc 2018
There may be no wine region on Earth that is more picturesque than Provence. This ruggedly beautiful region in the South of France produces what many people consider to be the standard for rosé in the world, along with some gorgeously perfumed and layered whites and reds. In the village of Luc, in the heart of the Côte d’Azur, La Bernarde and their organically farmed, traditionally made wines are quietly staking their claim as one of the finest in this famed region.
La Bernarde is an historic property in the Côtes de Provence appellation. The winery and their vineyards sit on a rocky limestone hillside at about 300 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest properties in the entire region. The cooler micro-climate of this area – it snows most winters! – allows them to make the kind of rosé we dream of, yet so rarely find; crisp, mineral-laced, bright-fruited, and with the complexity to drink on its own or with a variety of light or grilled fare. It also provides the conditions to make a red and white with a balance and texture not commonly found in the area. This oasis of limestone and cool temperatures that La Bernarde finds itself in is an incredible asset, as it sets them apart from many of the domaines that sit in the hot, low-lying flatlands near St. Tropez. On top of that, 100% of the vineyards and grapes are owned and farmed by the La Bernarde team – a rarity in the world of modern Provence winemaking. All of this comes together into a lineup of organically farmed beauties that are honest and delicious expressions of this gorgeous terroir.
Cotes de Provence is an extensive but valuable appellation that includes vineyards bordering the main Provencal appellations. Its sites vary from subalpine hills, which receive the cooling effects of the mountains to the north, to the coastal St-Tropez, a region mainly influenced by the warm Mediterranean sunshine.
Here the focus is on quality rosé, as it defines four fifths of the region’s wines. Following in the rosé footsteps, a lot of new effort is going into the region’s red production as well. A new generation has turned its focus on high quality Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan. Cotes de Provence white wines, which represent a miniscule part of the region as far as volume, are nonetheless worthy of consideration and can include any combination of Clairette, Semillon, Ugni Blanc and Vermentino.
A fantastic, aromatic white grape that grows with great success in Sardinia, Tuscany and in lesser proportions on the island of Corsica. Somm Secret—Vermentino is thought to be genetically identical to Liguria’s Pigato grape and Peidmont’s Favorita. It comprises a large proportion of the whites in southern France where it is called Rolle.