South of France Wines, Naturally

Before heading to Southern France I read Brigitte Bardot’s autobiography and Kermit Lynch’s “Adventures on the Wine Route”.

I felt I was ready to tackle the glamour and the wines of the South of France.

Roquebrune view over the seaAhhhh... breathtaking

And I have to admit - the stories are all true.

It is fucking beautiful.

Beach on Cap Ferrat - French RivieraCap Ferrat in Côte d'Azur
Yellow House on Cap FerratA typical historic villa

Everything looks like it’s been digitally retouched - the sky, the sea, the people. Even the unsavoury parts look like they were staged for a movie production.

Provence Airbnb houseOur airbnb in Provence
Restaurant in AvignonA little restaurant in Avignon

It is also crazy expensive.

I am sure you can do Provence and Côte d'Azur on a shoestring. We found a few gems that were very reasonable. But for the majority of it - prepare to cash out like Beyoncé on vacation.

Bay of Billionaries on the RivieraThe Bay of Billionaires
Wedding at Villa Euphrussi at Cap FerratVilla Ephrussi de Rothschild

Rosé wines of Southern France

I went to the South of France to challenge my beliefs about rosé.

I am not prejudiced against rosé wines - I simply never had a rosé that rocked my world.

I’ve had the good, the bad and the ugly. But never a great rosé.

Saint-Paul Asylum, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Vine growing against the building in Provence

A trip to the lion’s den - the very heart of the world's rosé production - was a very daring move indeed. I could have drowned in the pink plonk…

But I came back as a convert. Ox is now officially a rosé lover.

Haru Rosé Domaine MilanA fucking awesome bottle of rosé wine at Gallifet in Aix-en-Provence

I am not talking about the delicately pink rosés. None of that peach blossom bullshit, thank you very much.

The rosé wines that blew my brains were much darker and edgier.

They were crunchy, juicy, assertive and slightly tannic from extended skin contact and no filtration.

We don’t see them on the menus because they aren’t as insta-pretty. But they are the ones with a soul, character and story. And they are worth the chase.

Domaine de la Mongestine Bob Singlar RoséEnjoying rosé on the balcony of our surprisingly swanky airbnb apartment overlooking the Promenade des Anglais in Nice

We also had some impressive rosé pet nats. And those were some of my favourite rosé wines of the South of France.

Red wines of the French South

Rosé was pretty much all we drank - because we were in the South of France in the middle of the heat wave with record high temperatures.

Sainte Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

One of my first purchases when we arrived in Provence was a fan. A good old-fashioned foldable paper fan - with Van Gogh’s Starry Night printed on it.

Tacky? Absolutely!

But it was the only way to survive.

So you will excuse me when I tell you that I didn’t drink many reds. The ones that I did drink - came straight from the fridge.

Roussillon view at nightRoussillon in Provence - as beautiful at night as during the day

With that said, the reds in the South of France can be sensational - big and naughty. Mostly made from GSM varieties.

Cooler vineyards around the Luberon and the Alpilles mountains produce beautiful thirst-quenching reds with generous acidity and juiciness.

Bonnieux villageWonderfully picturesque village of Bonnieux

White wines

Whites are a challenge because of the climate. You generally don’t see that many whites on the menus in the restaurants and wine bars of Southern France. Rosé is the white of the South.

And yet, the whites we tried were absolutely gorgeous.

From rich and thick Viogniers to fresh and mineral expressions made from Rolle. Rolle is another name for Vermentino and it is ubiquitous in the South because it is blessed with natural acidity.

Orange wine is not a staple here, surprisingly. We were able to find one - but it was the one to rule them all. Thanks Jeanne!

Square at Saint-Rémy-de-ProvenceSquare in St-Rémy-de-Provence. We caught it at pre-dinner time. Within 20 minutes it was full and breathing fire.

Organics and biodynamics in southern France

Europeans are a lot more into the organic/biodynamic thing than we are. Even a beach club in Nice had a decent selection of wines with a “bio” tag.

Organic and biodynamic viticulture is big in the South of France. The climate is very open to it - powerful mistral winds and abundance of sun chase away any hint of mould.

Les Baux de ProvenceLes-Baux-de-Provence. A little touristy, but still super charming.

Les Baux de Provence in the Alpilles mountains is the only appellation in the world that is 100% organic.

I also heard somewhere that Provence has a goal of becoming 100% organic by 2030. Impressive!

Winery Clos du Tilleul in LacostLots of cute little wineries in Provence. This one is an organic producer Clos du Tilleul between villages of Lacoste and Bonnieux

What else to do and see

South of France was one of our most active trips. There was so much to do, see, eat, drink and dive into!

We dragged our cousin - who was still recovering from a hip replacement surgery - up and down, out and about. To our surprise, the hip survived.

Lavender fields outside of OppèdeCycling through the lavender fields. They DO exist and they ARE breathtaking.
Lavender in Provence


Award for the cutest Provencale village goes to Ménerbes.

It has a perfect combination of quintessential French charm, breathtaking views, lack of tourists, cosy cafes and just the right amount of cute shopping.

Village of MénerbesVillage of Ménerbes

In the Côte d'Azur region - it is Roquebrune.

The views of Monaco are phenomenal and the drive up along the grande Corniche is to die for - sometimes quite literally, I’m afraid.

View from Roquebrune over the square and MonacoView from Roquebrune - overlooking Monaco


The best beach is the 3 km pebbly stretch in Nice.

Babel Babel wine bar in NiceBabel Babel in Nice - at the edge of the Mediterranean

It is the most fun, happening beach I’ve ever laid my eyes and body on. The water is Bombay Sapphire blue. But getting to it is a sado-maso experience because of the pebbles.

And just look at this sky! The sky in Nice is breathtaking.

Nice Promenade des Anglais at NightI thought we had the best sky here in Southern Ontario. But Nice is next level.


The best food of the French South is ratatouille and sourdough bread. I could eat it all day every day.

We ate at many awesome places. But my favourite meals were the ones that we made ourselves from fresh produce and dishes that we sourced from local markets.

Isle-sur-la-Sorgue marketShopping at the famed L'isle-sur-la-Sorgue market
Provencale lunch...and enjoying the purchases for lunch


Aix-en-Provence is the best shopping destination in the south of France. So many cute boutiques!

Antibes on the Riviera had a lot of cute shops and ateliers. And the whole town was full of little hidden gems and tokens produced by local artisans. You kinda have to keep your eyes open to notice them.

View from Villa Euphrussi on Cap FerratFrench Riviera in all its glory

Provence vs Côte d'Azur?

While I absolutely loved the azure water of the French Mediterranean coast, Provence ran off with my heart. I wouldn’t mind having a small stone house (with a large pool) in les Alpilles region.

Somewhere around the small and adorable village of Eygalières. A meagre 100 square metres would do.

Just putting it out there into the Universe.

Red buildings in RoussillonThe red houses of Roussillon in Provence