A Century-Old Heritage
The story of the Côtes de Provence “Cru Classé” wines goes back to 1895, when a group of the Var region’s wine growers realized they could better defend and promote their wines and vineyards by working in partnership.
In 1947, thanks to the determination of these men and women, 23 of the Var region’s domains were selected by a commission of experts under the supervision of the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine), after thorough research into their terroir, expertise and reputation.
These Provençal domains and château were subsequently accredited with the exceptional “Cru Classé” distinction in July 1955, in live with Bordeaux’s most prestigious wine-growing areas.
This decision finally gave official recognition to the “pioneers” of the Côtes de Provence red, rosé and white wines. It guaranteed consistent quality throughout the wine-making process and the authentic origin of he wines, via compulsory bottling at the domain.
Thanks to the dynamic and visionary efforts of these wine growers, the Region’s wines obtained the “Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure” classification in 1951, and were awarded the prestigious “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” label in 1977. Interestingly, the now-famous “Côtes de Provence” trade mark was actually conceded free of charge by the Ott family, who already owned two “CrusClassés”.
The idea for the creation of a “Club des Crus Classés” was first put forward in the nineties. Rather than concentrating simply on technical and economic aspects, the Club’s main aim was to advocate the wine-growing ethic shared by “Cru Classé” growers.
The Club now meets on a regular basis. It has become a platform for exchanges and developed a genuine “Cru Classé” culture, with strong development objectives and a firm desire to perpetuate local wine-making traditions and age-old expertise. Its vocation is also to promote the “Cru Classé” spirit vis-à-vis to opinion leaders and wine lovers, for whom fine wines have a strong cultural interest and quasi-mystical quality.
Today, history is continuing its onward march, with 14 domains and château now officially forming the “Club des Crus Classés des Côtes de Provence”. Their common goal is to affirm and convey the “Cru Classé” identity – this unique distinction first earned by their peers in 1955 – and gain increased recognition for this noble title and mark of excellence.