A Vineyard in Provence

A Vineyard in Provence

Yesterday, AUCP students visited one of the most picturesque vineyards of Provence, the Domaine Saint-Ser. Wines from this domaine are designated by an Appélation d’Origine Controlée (AOC) Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire, an appellation that applies to a selection of wines cultivated in the vicinity of the majestic Sainte Victoire mountain. In this impressive setting, with traditional stone walls lining the terraced vineyards and surrounded by olive trees, roses and lavender, AUCP students experienced a mix of Provençal sights, smells, and tastes.

Joël Corre, head of the Institut d’Oenologie d’Aix-en-Provence and AUCP Professor explains:

« This particular vineyard, owned by Madame Jacqueline Guichot, a former Parisian pharmacist,  is not only at the foot of the Sainte Victoire, it is nearly touching the mountain. The view is simply magnificent. The Domaine Saint-Ser is one of the best and exemplary Côtes de Provence wines, as the vineyard has all of the advantages of the region. As it lies South of the mountain, it not only gets sunlight, but the Sainte Victoire protects it from the cold. The white-grey rocks reflect the sunlight onto the vines, giving the wines a beautiful maturity that is exceptional for this region. Madame Guichot bought the vineyard eight years ago, and takes great pride in her wine and its quality. »

sainte victoire

With Professor Corre and Madame Guichot explaining the complexities of the wine-making process, AUCP students spent the afternoon at the winery, first visiting the cave, or the wine cellar where the wines are aged in oak barrels. They were able to see up close all of the classic Provençal vine varieties in Madame Guichot’s varietal garden where the vines were already heavy with fruit: grenache, syrah, muscat, cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes.

Finally, the students tasted four wines: two rosés, one white and one red. Together with Professor Corre, the students analyzed the color, aroma and taste of each wine, expanding their vocabulary and palette. The first rosé was a 2013 Cuvée Prestige de Rosé Saint-Ser, a young and fresh wine with notes of wild strawberry and raspberry. The second, a 2011 Cuvée de l’Ermite, was a finer Rolle wine tasting of white peach and grapefruit. The white wine, a 2013 Cuvée Prestive Blanc, had aromas of vanilla and hazelnut, resulting from the meticulous aging process in new oak casks. The last wine, a 2011 red Cuvée Prestive Saint-Ser, was dominated by the Syrah vine variety, a masculine wine with leathery aromas and tannic roundness.

Saint Ser Winery

The winery visit was particularly interesting for the students attending the in-house wine-tasting class, as they were given the opportunity to put their new oenological knowledge and French wine vocabulary to use. And, during the Fall and Spring semesters, AUCP Aix-en-Provence students can take a Culture and Business of French Wines class with Professor Corre.  To learn more about AUCP course offerings, visit the AUCP website.