The climate in the Var is dramatic. In winter it snows, and drought is an ever present threat in summer. Torrential rains fall in spring and fall and contribute to an already high water table. The Mistral, a violent wind from the north, plays an important role in clearing the sky of clouds and purifying the soil. Temperatures fluctuate widely year round, as much as 22 degrees in summer when hot Mediterranean days are cooled by Alpine breezes at night.
In the 1940s, there were few Appellations d’Origine Controlée (AOC), in Provence, one of France’s larger wine-growing areas, stretching along the Mediterranean coast east of the Rhône River. These included Bandol and Cassis between Marseille and Toulon, Bellet in the hills of Nice, and Palette, near Aix. In 1977, these were joined by the Côtes de Provence.
Many producers grow and blend up to a dozen grape varieties, as is done in Châteauneuf du Pape in the Rhône. The appellations promote this stance and, indeed, the regulations make it almost impossible for producers to market varietal wines. The grape varieties approved for use in the Côtes de Provence AOC are the reds Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan, the ancient Tibouren, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the whites Rolle, Ugni Blanc, Clairette, and Sémillion.
Property in the Var
It was not easy for me finding a vineyard in the South of France at the time. To save you the difficulties I had, I recommend you contact my son Alistair who has lived in the Var for 20 years and is helping people find their dream homes as a property finder. You can read his blog here: http://www.smartfindervar.com/blog