A Provence cycling holiday through the wine-making village of Tavel
Tavel is a famous wine producing village, within close cycling distance of Villeneuve-Lès-Avignon, the roman arena in Nîmes and the peaceful Provencal city of Avignon. Tavel is a small village with a rich heritage and many hidden treasures such as the magnificent 19th century fountain and wash houses.
Some interesting discoveries on your self-guided cycling trip through Provence
For over 100 years, stone has been one of the 2 main economic riches of the village, the 1st being rosé wine (more on that later!). The stone from Tavel is a cream-coloured, hard limestone deposit, also known as a cold stone, rare and sought after by stone cutters because when polished, it shines like marble.
Cycling in Provence: through the vineyards of Tavel
It is indeed the rosé wine that gives Tavel its prestigious status and places the village firmly on the French wine producing map. Tavel wines are often referred to as ‘the best rosé in France’ and are the only rosé wines to be featured on the wine list of every 3-star restaurant in France. Whilst most rosé wines are light and crisp and often served as an aperitif, the Tavel wines have the complexity and flavours to be paired with many different dishes.
Tavel has been making exceptional wines for centuries and received its A.O.C label in 1936, one of the first wines in France to receive an “Appellation” status. This means that the production of the wine must meet the strict quality and geographical guidelines to be labelled Tavel. You will not see any bottles of white or red wines carrying the name. Unlike other rosé wines that need to be opened within a year, the Tavel rosé can be left to age.
The grape varieties consist mainly of red grapes including Grenache, Syrah (Shiraz), Mourvèdre, Cinsault. To make rosé wine, the red grapes are used but the skins are removed after a short period of maceration. No single variety can make up more than 60% of the blend – thus all Tavels are blends. The Tavel wines are served at 10°C and can accompany most Provencal dishes (sweet and savoury) on your cycling trip in Provence.