Vine culture in Provence dates back to the establishment by the phoceans in -600 of the town of Massilia, that is to say Marseille. Since then, the vineyard hasn’t stopped growing in size but also in reputation and that is why King René the 1st of Anjou, also king of Naples and Sicily imposed it to his court and it also became quite valued in the court of England.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, gourmet Clairet wines of Provence were very appreciated in the French court.
The vineyard, already famous in 1850 under the name of Côtes de Provence suffered, like all French vineyards, the phylloxera crisis and it was only right before the first World War that it retrieved its original production.
The efforts of a few pioneers in terms of quality allow Côtes de Provence wines to obtain the VDQS designation (superior quality wines) in 1951. The geographical area then comprised 42 towns. A decree from the 24th of October makes it 84 towns and classifies Côtes de Provence wines into controlled designation of origin.
In the meantime, a ministerial ruling grants the ‘Cru classé” designation to only 23 domains, following a nominal list, on the 300 existing, thus putting those 23 domains at the top of the Côtes de Provence pyramid. After the disappearance of 5 of them, there are nowadays 18 left of them, allowed to display on their label the prestigious mention of “Cru classé” :