2018 Domaine du Bagnol, Cassis Blanc, Provence, France.
One of the most under the radar wines in the world, but one of the very best is the white from this tiny picturesque fishing village in Provence, not far from both Bandol and Marseille, usually crafted from Clairette Blanche along with Ugni Blanc and Marsanne, with Domaine du Bagnol being one of the finest available. This white is great with all types of sea food and Cassis, which was first planted to the vine in the 12th century and the vineyards were developed on the north, east and southeast slopes that surround the village which sits immediately on a little bay on the Mediterranean, in unimaginable beauty and perfectly placed to supply the tables of ocean front bistros. While like most of Europe, Phylloxera wiped out the vineyards almost completely in 1870, but by 1892 Cassis had re-established their vineyards and began swing up in quality as well, which continues today. Domaine du Bagnol has going through many up and downs, but under currant owner Jean-Louis Genovesi, a native of Cassis, and his son, Sébastien, they have revived the domaine. The estate’s wines, both, the Blanc and Rosé, are more compelling than ever. The domaine sits just beneath the imposing limestone outcropping of Cap Canaille and is a mere 200 meters distance from the shores of the Mediterranean. Thus situated, the Domaine du Bagnol is the beneficiary of the cooling winds from the north, northwest and northeast including Tramontane, as well as the famous Mistral and the Grégal along with the natural gentle sea breezes that come ashore daily during the growing season in this ideal and glorious setting.
Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Blanc is made from mostly Marsanne at about 51% complemented by Clairette Blanche at 31% and with a good dose of Ugni Blanc 18% which is all de-stemmed and cold pressed and fermented totally dry with no malos to preserve intensity and freshness details, the fermentation continues for three weeks in cement cuves all very gentile and temperature controlled with cooling jackets. Importer Rosenthal/Mad Rose Group adds, The vineyards to produce the white wine at Domaine du Bagnol cover a bit less than 9 hectares and are planted on a gentle slope on clay and limestone soils with a north by northwest exposure, all of which adds to the cool and crisp feel on the marvelous palate and gives this wine its terroir complexity, along with the cellar work making this wine incredibly pure and vivid. The profile, somewhere between Picpoul de Pinet and Chateauneuf Blancs, of Cassis Blancs is of more coastal Mediterranean warmth than lets say Saint-Joseph Blanc, but still vibrant and elegant, less weighty than some of the coastal or island Vermentinos, they shine with fruit from the clay and mineral/stony character and acidity that the limestone highlights. This 2018 Bagnol delivers layers of white peach, green apple, tangerine/lime citrus, wet stone and a hint of waxy tropical fruit as well as touch of orange blossom, muted spices, saline and apricot pit all in a vibrant, but smooth feeling white wine of refined class. Domaine du Bagnol, along with Clos Ste. Magdeleine make some of the most exciting wines of the Cassis AOC and should never be overlooked, especially for long Summer days and Marseille style cuisine, especially their famed bouillabaisse.
($29 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive