The Chateau Maravenne is in La Londe Les Maures, between Hyeres and Bormes les Mimosas. On its 75 hectares, with 30 planted with vines, it produces organic wines (particularly rosés) under the Cotes de Provence appellation, but is one of the rare vineyards to also have a specific appellation : The AOC Cotes de Provence La Londe.
Regional designation AOC Cotes de Provence La Londe
The regional designation "AOC La Londe" applies to vineyards on the tip of the coast, between the Mediterranean and the Maures Hills. They grow close to the sea, opposite the "Isles d"Or": Porquerolles, Port-Cros and the Levant. Just four towns are in this area of regional designation: all of La Londe les Maures, part of Bormes les Mimosas and La Crau and Hyeres.
The close proximity of the Mediterranean sea impacts the specific climate of this area. The summer and winter temperatures are temperate. The annual precipitations are particularly low. Sunshine hours are high and the sea breezes and mistral provide almost permanent wind.
The principal grape varieties for this label in rosé are Grenache and Cinsault. Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Tibouren and a few whites can also be used as accessories. The annual yield must not be over 50 Hl/hectare.
The history of our local lands starts with the history of Provence, in the primary era, with the creation of the southern part of the hercynian chain, the volcanic activity in the Esterel and the erosion that occurred during this period.
Then, in the secondary era, the comings and goings of the sea left significant layers of limestone sediment. This land then lifted, slid and folded when the Pyrenees and the Alps were formed at the same time as the hills in Provence.
Thus were formed the Maures hills with its crystally rock base made up of mica-schist, gneiss and granite. The vineyards along the coast, representing the La Londe label, are made up of a brown soil of schist, sandstone and colluvial deposits. This metamorphic rock is exposed, and its poor soil is ideal for growing vines. Everywhere there are phyllites and slivers of schist and sometimes sprinklings of white mica.
Chateau Maravenne is in the middle of the "La Londe" label and its south facing vines grow opposite the sea with the beginnings of the Maures hills in the top the the Domain. All the vines are certified organic, although this is not an obligation.
The different Cotes de Provence labels
In the south of France there are 3 main labels defining wine from Provence: AOC Coteaux d"Aix en Provence (to the west between Arles and Aix), AOC Coteaux Varois en Provence (in the centre and north of the Var) and the AOC Cotes de Provence (throughout the area, but mainly in the centre, south and east between Toulon and St Raphael).
In the same way, within the Cotes de Provence label there are 4 "sub-labels" that are known as regional denominations (appellation de terroir). These labels were created to enable the consumer to find regional wines whose particular taste comes from a particular area. There are also:
- Cotes de Provence Sainte Victoire : the vineyards around the foot of the Sainte Victoire mountain
- Cotes de Provence Fréjus found around the town of the same name
- Cotes de Provence Pierrefeu to the north of the Maures hills and on the southern plateaux
- Cotes de Provence La Londe, along the Mediterranean around La Londe les Maures
A recap of the history of Provencal wines
The Phocaeans founded Marseille around 600 BC and introduced vines. Thanks to the Greeks, Provence became France's first vineyard. From 200 BC the Romans settled in the area. They developed the vines and organised "Provincia Romana" or "Provence". The towns of Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence) and Forum Julii (Frejus) were founded and from here the Romans transported vines wherever they went. This is how the other Gallic vineyards developed: the Rhone Valley, the Beaujolais, Bourgogne, Gascogne and Bordeaux. From the V to the XII century, the abbeys of Saint-Victor in Marseille, Saint-Honorat on the Isles of Lérins and Saint-Pons in Nice produced and sold wine. From the XIV century wealthy families acquired many provencal vineyards. Provence as the wine producing area we know today was born.
In the XX century, the wine-growers decided to unite their strength. In this way, bit by bit, the provencal wine-growers began their quest toward the "Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée" (AOC) which originated in 1977 and which became, with the European Union, "l'Appellation d"Origine Protegée" (AOP). In the XXI century, between 2005 and 2013, the different regional and local labels (La Londe, Fréjus, Sainte Victoire and Pierrefeu) became official.