ADC is a strict classification of French wines regulated by a law of the Ministry of Agriculture. It guarantees the good quality of wines and involves both the region and the commune to which the property belongs.
A complex series of laws lay down the limits pertaining to origin, territory, vines, cultivation, minimum natural sugar content (alcohol) and the maximum production per hectare.
All these laws demand a double quality check. Firstly, chemical analyses and secondly blind tasting in order to establish the special features of each wine. Only by passing all these tests can the wine producer obtain ADC.
There are 8 distinct denominations grouped under ADC in Provence.
Cotes de Provence
Cotes de Provence alone represents 80% of wine production in Provence with its 52 cooperative wineries and 350 private producers.
All the territory is typically Mediterranean and swept by a strong, dry wind - the Mistral.
Geologically a number of limestone hills rise on a crystalline base. The soil is poor and well drained. Low Provence, i.e. the costal area south of the Maures Massif (from Saint Raphel to Toulon), the Inland Valley from Hyeres to Vidauban (50% of the Cotes de Provence production), the High Hills or the Hill of the Haut Pays and lastly the Beausset Basin and Sancte Victoire.
The vineyards in this area produce fine wines, rich in tannin and diverse aromas, which are perfect for blending. This family of ancient vines have enriched and refined their personality thanks to the modern growing techniques. Here, there can be found Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Tibouren and Cabernet Sauvignon for reds and rosès; Rolle, Ugni Blanc, Clairette and Semillon for whites.
(5% of total Provence production; 85,000 hl produced on 1,800 hectares.)
Coteaux Varois groups 28 communes. It generally has clayey – limestone soil rich in flint stones. They benefit from a special microclimate due to their low altitude.
The Denomination stretches around the city of Bignoles, the summer residence of the Counts of Provence. Several famous vines are grown there, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Rolle.
There are six other smaller denominations, but no less famous: Bandol, Bellet, Cassis, Beaux de Provence, Palette, and Coteaux d’Ax en Provence.