Provence wines: the 2020 vintage
21st July 2021
An early start
After a wet 2019 autumn, winter was very dry and one of the mildest on record, so much so that the growing season got off to an early start. In March, however, despite plummeting temperatures slowed development, though the vine cycle continued to stay ahead of usual growth milestones with flowering ten to fifteen days earlier than normal.
Good conditions for harvesting
In July, the hot, dry weather caused some nascent water stress in some areas and reduced progress in growth at the veraison stage. Harvesting began in mid-August in the earliest-ripening areas and extended over a longer period than usual, with the last grapes picked in the latest-ripening areas picked in mid-October. In terms of ripeness, the hot, dry summer promoted good development of the fruit whilst cooler temperatures, combined with a few days of rain that occurred in September and the return of the Mistral wind, proved beneficial for the vineyards harvested last. Across the region, the grapes showed lovely sugar-acid balance and concentration.
Rainfall in the spring led to downy mildew, which was kept under control. However, episodes of frost that affected the Var in March, with temperatures falling to -7°C inland at a time when the growing season had already begun, had a negative impact on production volumes, particularly for the Grenache. Conversely, areas left unaffected harvested a bountiful crop with fairly large, juicy berries.
The wines of the 2020 vintage
AOC CÔTES DE PROVENCE
Light to very light, brilliant, clear hues.
Fresh flowers (rose), yellow fruits (melon, peach) and red fruits (strawberry, raspberry, cherry), with touches of citrus zest, tropical fruits and marshmallow.
Balanced generosity and light tangy freshness lifting a persistent finish often suffused with abundant fruitiness.
AOC COTEAUX D’AIX-EN-PROVENCE
Shimmering, vibrant, light colours of salmon-pink, peach and lychee with clean pink reflections.
Floral and tangy red berry fruit notes, intense aromas of citrus and yellow or white-fleshed fruits, occasionally lifted by some sweet spice accents. Ample with a great acid backbone.
AOC COTEAUX VAROIS EN PROVENCE
Beautiful pale pink colour ranging from salmon to very light pink. Complex and expressive. Floral notes and broad array of fruit aromatics – citrus, tropical fruits, sun-ripened fruits and fresh red fruits.
Elegant and ample yet also aromatic and persistent. Consistently shows great balance between roundness and freshness.
Export Growth Continued in 2020
Provence rosés continued to grow in export markets in 2020 despite the ongoing pandemic and geopolitical tensions, Provence rosé wines successfully overcame the headwinds in overseas markets in 2020, rising by 6 % in volume and 1 % in value. Increased winery sales over the summer and towards the end of the year offset the delays caused by the spring restrictions. In terms of market distribution, growth in the major European markets – primarily the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium – more than compensated for the downturn in the American market, which holds on to its rank as the leading export destination.
Provence posts highest French growth abroad with exports increasing by nearly 6% in volume in 2020, Provence bucked the general trend in the French wine industry, which witnessed an overall downturn of around 5%. In fact, Provence ranked first among wine regions posting growth, ahead of Burgundy (+ 1.4%) and the Loire Valley (+ 1%). In value terms, Provence is the only wine region to experience growth.
Recovery over the entire second half of the year After several months in decline between February and May due to the first lockdown, exports of Provence rosé wines returned to growth mode in June, with winery sales rising by 46% compared with June 2019. Every month thereafter showed increases, with December posting a record 75% surge on December 2019. 2021 has got off to an encouraging start, with a 17% volume increase in January- May compared with 2020.
Exports to Australia continue to grow
Exports to Australia have shown a strong and continuous growth over the years, rising by 257% in volume and 304% in value in the last 5 years. Although exports to Australia saw a decline in the calendar year of 2020 by 8% in volume and 5% in value due to Covid, they are already up by 75% in volume in the January-May period compared with 2020, indicating that 2021 won’t just return to it 5 year growth trajectory but exceed it.
About Provence Wines
Vins de Provence, the oldest vineyard in France, brings together three appellations d’origine contrôlée spanning close to 200 km, between the Mediterranean and the Alps, across the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and a commune within the Alpes-Maritimes: the AOC Côtes de Provence, AOC Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and AOC Coteaux Varois en Provence. These are united under the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), and bring together some 494 private wine producers, 63 cooperative producers as well as 90 wine traders. Rosé wine is a historic specialty of this wine growing region and represents 90% of wine production. It is intimately linked to Provence’s identity, sharing the same values of authenticity, sensoriality and audacity. Today, 38% of French AOC Rosés wines and 4.2% of Rosés in the world hail from Provence and there are renowned for their signature style – pale pink, dry and aromatic.
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