Aix-En-Provence – Its History, Its Terroir:
Provence was the first to receive the Greeks and Romans, along with the extraordinary heritage of the vine and the art of wine making.
Viticulture (vitis meaning vine in Latin) and oenology (oenos meaning wine in Greek), originate in the Mediterranean.
Unlike in Bordeaux and Burgundy, the wines of Provence lacked a dynamic Negociant, and their honest reputation did not extend further than the regional frontiers. At the end of the nineteenth century, Phylloxera spread and destroyed a large part of the vineyard. Devastated by the lack of production, the vintners went about setting up a new vineyard. It was to be situated no longer on the slopes, where it had traditionally been planted, but on the more productive planes. The majority of small producers grouped themselves to form co-operative cellars, and due to sure commercial backing, many poor Provencal wines poured onto the market over the years.
The Midi had to sustain the full impact of the collapse of “normal consumption” wines, especially as some pioneers took the initiative to modify grape varieties, to select the best parcels and to reduce yields in order to prove to other produces that good wine could take root in Provence.
Accession to V.D.Q.S. (Wines Délimité de Qualité Supérieure) logically followed in 1956. The first application for A.O.C. by the I.N.A.O (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine), and simultaneously by Côtes de Provence, was refused due to a quality judged as too heterogeneous.
It was necessary, therefore, to get back to work, to improve the overall quality little by little, and to convince the still numerous sceptics who did not understand the interest in gaining classification in the hierarchy of French wines.
After thirty years of purgatory as V.D.Q.S., and eight years of doubled efforts, the Coteaux d’Aix en Provence was finally rewarded the title of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlle (A.O.C.) in 1985.
Back to top