Coteaux d'Aix Wine
The Coteaux d'Aix appellation covers a broad swathe of land that sweeps southwards from the Montagne de Luberon to the Mediterranean, bordered by Cézanne's beloved Mont Sainte-Victoire in the East and the mighty Rhône delta in the West. There are over 4000 hectares under vine yielding a phenomenal 28 million bottles of wine per annum. Production is overwhelmingly focused on rosé which accounts for four fifths of the region's output and has a ready market in the tourists who flock to the holiday villas and beaches of Provence each summer. Happily the overall quality of production has improved greatly in the 21st century and it is now rare to come across an actively unpleasant bottling, but the general thrust of the wine-making seems to be towards lack of faults rather than individual character.
We consider ourselves fortunate to have discovered the Ambrosio-Collomb family's Domaine Oullières, just outside the village of Lambesc, and to have secured a healthy annual allocation as they are making wines of real personality with a strong sense of terroir that are certified organic to boot. Their rosé has an appealing coral-pink colour, inviting red berry and rosehip scents and flavours and an elegant, savoury finish. It is light enough to drink as a summer aperitif but will go well with seafood and substantial salads. The Domaine Oullières blanc has equal merit. It is blended from Vermentino and Grenache Blanc and has an alluring bouquet of wild flowers and citrus fruit and persistent, dry palate with undertones of fennel, thyme and lavender. Not to be overlooked is the estate's honest, earthy red made from a mixture of Grenache Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It is packed with dark plum and cherry fruit with bright peppery notes over a framework of gently-warming tannins. A lamb tagine or some chilli-infused kebabs would make apposite accompaniments.