France's Provence region has become a mighty trendy place in recent years. With its sunny climate, vivid colors, appetizing cuisine and natural scents of lavender, rosemary and thyme, Provence has inspired books, posters, television programs and, of course, travel packages.
Curiously, though, the wines of Provence don't seem to have developed as affectionate a following. Those in the know appreciate their aromatic charms, but even though Provence wines share much in common with the neighboring Southern Rhone and Languedoc, they don't command much publicity ... or shelf space in retail wine stores.
A few Provence appellations like Bandol enjoy near-"cult" followings, and specific producers like Domaine Trevallon and the organic Mas de Gourgonnier featured in the April 30, 2008 Wine Advisor
are sought out by their fans.
But the fact remains that Provence wine doesn't seem to enjoy the luster that surrounds Provence as a region, and that's a shame. The wines are typically food-friendly, balanced and - with the possible exception of top Bandols, Trevallon and a few other prizes - quite affordable.
Here's a fine, budget-priced Provence wine I recently enjoyed. I'd like to hear about your favorites.Domaine Valdernier 2005 Coteaux d'Aix en Provence ($9.99)
Very dark garnet with a clear edge. Fresh raspberry aromas, with a distinct edge of fresh herbs that makes me think of herbes de Provence. Raspberries and something a little more tart - cranberry, maybe - in a fresh and inviting flavor. Good, crisp red fruit lingers in a cleansing acidic finish. U.S. importer: Wine Adventures Inc., West Des Moines, Iowa. (Jan. 31, 2008)FOOD MATCH:
Fine with a standard red-meat match, local grass-fed rib eyes pan-seared medium-rare.VALUE:
Interesting, fruity and tart, a no-brainer at or around the $10 point.WHEN TO DRINK:
The '05 is still showing well, but it's not a wine for long-term cellaring.WEB LINKS:
Here's a link to the U.S. importer's Web page:http://www.wineadventures.comFIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and check prices for Domaine Valdernier Coteaux d'Aix en Provence on Wine-Searcher.com:http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Valde ... g_site=WLP