A blend of 30% Rolle (the local name for Vermentino) and 70% Sémillon. The white wines of Provence are less well known in the UK than the rosés, but enjoy a great following in their local market. The lemon/honey salty tang of this white is a perfect match with the local seafood of the Provençal coast line. The cool breezes of the Mediterranean help the grapes retain freshness and zing.
A contender for the title of the world's greatest rosé (certainly the most fashionable, judgingfrom the staggering 80,000 bottles sold into St Tropez from Nikki Beach, La Voile Rouge to Club 55 each summer) is Domaine Ott's Rosé in its instantly recognisable, curvaceous amphora-shaped bottle. Marcel Ott, Alsatian by birth, resettled in Cavalaire, close to Saint Tropez in 1896. As an agronomist, his ambition was to create a great wine estate. It was in 1912 with the purchase of Château de Selle, that he realised this goal, later adding to his holdings with Clos Mireille and Château Romassan. Marcel Ott's philosophy was to marry the classic varietals of Provence with aprofound respect for nature. This tradition is now upheld by Maison Louis Roederer, who bought the controlling share of the estate in 2004. 300,000 bottles are produced each year from three domains, of which 60% is rosé, 25% white and only 15% red.
France's most extensive appellation, the Côtes de Provence stretches from Toulon in the west to near Cannes in the east. The vineyards run from the sun-baked Mediterranean coast up into the Alpine foothills with their cooling influence. Rose wine accounts for four fifths of Côtes de Provence production. Formerly a drink for holidays only, consumption of rose is on the rise in both France and the UK and and the wines are more and more serious. Typically Cinsaut and Grenache are the most popular grape varieties. There is also a renewed focus on producing higher quality red wine by incorporating Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah into the blends, although combined they can only represent 30% of the blend. Plantings of indigenous white varieties are also increasing especially in the coastal areas.