Clos Sainte Magdeleine Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France 2019
35% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah
The grapes for this Côtes de Provence rosé are sourced from the commune of La Ciotat, in a vineyard near the coast roughly halfway between Cassis and Bandol. Using a similar blend to the domaine's Cassis rosé, Vigneron Jonathan Sack has crafted what is perhaps the quintessential Provençal refresher—an uplifting nectar of bright citrus, fresh berry fruit, wild herbs, and salty sea air that is a far cry from the countless technological, mass-marketed examples in production throughout the region. This rosé bears a distinct sense of place, and it's someplace we all want to be: under the sun, by the sea, glass in hand, a bowl of briny olives within reach.
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.