Baux de Provence, Les

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

A spectacular and famous small hilltop settlement in the far west of provence dominated by Michelin-starred restaurants and their customers’ cars gives its name to a local appellation contrôlée created in 1995 and substantially amended since. In the far north west, effectively on limestone rubble from the craggy Alpilles chain, Les Baux is slightly warmer and wetter than much of coteaux d’aix-en-provence from which it was ceded and the rules are stricter—possibly too strict. Red wines are made, from Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre grapes, which must together make up at least 60% of the blend, together with Cinsaut, Counoise, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon (which last must represent no more than 20% of the total, thus excluding the area’s best estate, Domaine de Trévallon, from the appellation). Cinsaut takes the place of Mourvèdre in the rosés, which make up about a fifth of the appellation. Clairette, Grenache Blanc, and Vermentino are the principal grapes for the new white version, although some Marsanne and Roussanne may be included in the blend. Even more significant however is that the growers (unsuccessfully) asked that their appellation regulations should be the first in France to specify organic viticulture. The Mistral helps to keep the vines healthy.