Passport to Provence
Wines, tapenade, pistou & olive oil from the French Riviera.
"Provence is a country to which I am always returning, next week, next year, any day now, as soon as I can get on a train."
Elizabeth David, French Provincial Cooking (1960)
If, like me, you have settled for glamping in North Devon this year, rather than a TGV to Marseille and beyond, all is not lost. This terrific case provides some succour as it includes wines sourced from the very best vineyards that the playground of France has to offer, backed up by some excellent local condiments.
Provence is home to some of France's oldest vineyards (dating back to Roman times) as its 3,000 hours of sunlight annually provide ideal growing conditions for a wide variety of grapes to flourish – 25 in the appellation of Palette alone. Alongside vibrant whites (from Vermentino, Clairette, Marsanne & Roussanne), you find robust spicy reds (Mourvèdre, Syrah, Folle Noir) and, of course rosé – accounting for nearly 90% of the region's output.
The case features aristocratic Château Simone from the outskirts of Aix, Bellet - the only urban AOC in France nestled in the hills above Nice, Cassis - the sole French appellation situated entirely within a National Park (des Calanques), and organic pioneers at Château la Canorgue in the Montagne du Luberon, among others. The wines work particularly well with the dishes for which the region is famous - Bouillabaisse, Grillade au Fenouil, Salade Niçoise, Aïoli, Pissaladière, Ratatouille, stuffed courgette flowers, olives, Banon and Picadon cheeses.
We have enhanced the case with tapenade, pistou and (AOC) olives from the traditional traiteur of Nicolas Alziari (based in Nice's Vieux Port since 1868), plus Domaine Bunan's wonderful cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. A left-field addition (not to be over-looked) is the artisanal Pastis from the Manguin distillery located among pear orchards on the country's largest river island - the 700 hectare Ile de Barthelasse just outside Avignon. Naturally, you can serve this as five parts chilled water to one part Pastis (pour the water first!), but it provides the base for numerous excellent cocktails - 'Rourou' (with strawberry), 'Perroquet' (with mint), 'Sazerac' (with Brandy) and my personal favourite the 'Obituary'- a twist on the Martini.
So you can transport yourself to the Côte d'Azur this August, reassured by the knowledge that the most expensive bottle in this case is the same price as a club sandwich at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc!
This mixed case contains one bottle each of:
Château Simone Blanc 2017
Cassis: Clos Sainte Magdeleine Blanc 2019
Bellet: Domaine de la Source Blanc 2018
Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence: Domaine des Oullières Rosé 2019
Côtes de Provence: Clos Sainte Magdeleine Rosé 2019
Côtes du Luberon: Château La Canorgue Rosé 2019
Bandol: Mas de la Rouvière Rouge 2016
Château Simone Rouge 2015
IGP Méditerranée: Domaine Richeaume 'Cuvée Tradition' 2017
Pastis: Distillerie Manguin
Condiments & Olive Oil:
Nicolas Alziari - Tapenade (180g)
Nicolas Alziari - Pistou (80g)
Nicolas Alziari - Olives Cailletier (220g)
Domaines Bunan - Huile d'Olive Vierge Extra (75cl bottle)