2022 Clos Sainte Magdeleine, Cassis AOC Blanc, Provence, France.
France’s historic and ancient Mediterranean fishing village Cassis in Provence is well known for its natural beauty, but maybe lesser known is that it is home to one of the world’s most iconic white wines and Clos Sainte Magdeleine makes one of the best. The 2022 vintage is wonderfully layered, rounded, but with spicy mineral, saline and fresh acidity with bright citrusy lemon/lime, white peach, apple and passionfruit, along with wet stone, bitter almond, orange blossom and verbena. The all organic Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Blanc is all de-stemmed and gravity pressed and then the juice is fermented and aged in 100% temperature-controlled stainless steel tank with some lees contact and with most vintages seeing full malos. The regular Cassis Blanc is, as noted before, aged in total for between 14 to 18 months in tank before bottling and release. Everything is done to allow the terroir to shine through and make a wine that goes beautifully with the local cuisine, which luckily mirrors the local food foods I get here on California’s Central Coast. The Clos Sainte Magdeleine’s Cassis Blanc, as importer Kermit Lynch adds, success lies in an uncanny ability to capture a dichotomous nerve and sun-kissed unctuousness, making it both incredibly food-friendly and delicious entirely on its own, of which I complete agree with. I’ve long admired and followed this wine, I enjoy it with sea foods and Middle-eastern dishes, like lemon chicken and couscous.
Clos Saint Magdeleine, As I’ve mentioned in my prior reviews, now run by Fancois Sack was originally founded by Jules Savon, who won the Gold Medal for the domaine at the World’s Fair in 1900 and put this estate on the map and the Sack family who have been in charge for four generations continue to make awesome wines in this picturesque village on the Mediterranean sea, not far from both Bandol and Marseille, where Cassis is a favorite at the best bistros and cafes. The village (AOC) which allows only White and Rosé is an ancient fishing village, and as Kermit Lynch notes, Cassis has seen its fair share of visitors over the millennia. Greek colonists from Phocaea first arrived in the sixth century B.C., and with them came the timeless Ugni Blanc grape and viticultural savvy. The Romans later made their way here, as well as their Barbarian successors, followed by the medieval Counts of Les Baux, all the way to tourists of the modern era looking to escape the cold, dark cities. Cassis is not only an active port, but what Kermit calls “an earthly paradise…”, with the vineyards of Clos Sainte Magdeleine being particularly stunning, and, as I’ve dreamed of, it is a place I hope to visit in person someday sooner v. later. These vineyards jut out on to a private cape to meet majestic shoreline and spectacular limestone cliffs, poised above gorgeously beauty of the sparkling, azure Mediterranean, it is as I’ve joked, a perfect place for grape vines to retire to! This Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis AOC Blanc possesses a sense of grace, depth and class that makes it a real treat and I highly recommend it.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive