Clos Sainte Magdeleine, Cassis Blanc, Provence, France 2019
40% Marsanne, 30% Ugni blanc, 25% Clairette, 5% Bourboulenc
This fennel- and sea-salt-inflected Cassis sets the standard for Mediterranean whites. Here is the wine to enhance seafood and shellfish, or to be enjoyed as an apéritif on a typical warm seaside evening. It goes particularly well with Roquefort and goat cheese, and tastes as good on the Pacific as it does on the Mediterranean.
The ancient and historically important fishing village of Cassis is still an active port and, according to Kermit Lynch, “an earthly paradise.” The vineyards of Clos Sainte Magdeleine are particularly stunning: they jut out on a private cape to meet majestic limestone bluffs, poised spectacularly above the sparkling, azure waters. Only a dozen vignerons today are fortunate enough to produce AOC Cassis (the appellation covers just 215 hectares), and the small quantities available are largely consumed locally with fresh fish—the best way to enjoy them.
The domaine bottles both whites and rosés, the latter of which are especially limited. They completed conversion to organic viticulture in 2012, a philosophic progression after years of sustainable farming. The seaside location and abundant limestone yield delicate, mineral wines perfumed of wild herbs and flowers, with a trademark saline finish. Clos Sainte Magdeleine’s success lies in an uncanny ability to capture a dichotomous nerve and sun-kissed unctuousness in their wines, making them both incredibly food-friendly and delicious entirely on their own.