From the archives… 1986 Cassis Blanc • Clos Sainte Magdeleine

by Kermit Lynch

Back in 1969 before Bacchus waved his magic wand and made me into a wine importer, I was banging about Europe on a penny-pinching holiday. Needing a rest en route from Barcelona to Salzburg, I pulled off the highway to find a hotel. The nearest village was Cassis, proving that accidents are not always tragic. I did not know the beauty of the place had attracted painters such as Vlaminck, Matisse, and Dufy, or that there were literary connections with Marcel Pagnol and M.F.K. Fisher. I simply needed a bed.

And stayed a week. I ate in cheap backstreet restaurants: fish soup, fish stew grilled fish, fruits de mer, always with a bottle of the local sun-drenched white wine. All the vintners produce red and rosé, but those don’t matter. It is its unique dry white that puts Cassis on the wine map.

The 1986 will convert cynics who say the incomparable beauty of the site makes the wine taste good. The vintage plays a role; conditions were perfect. The aroma is ripe and grapes, and all the flavors are intact because the Clos Sainte Madeleine has agreed to forgo a filtration at the mise en bouteille. A blend of Ugni blanc, Claudette, Marsanne, and Sauvignon blanc, here is the wine to enhance seafood and shellfish. On a warm evening it serves as an appropriate apéritif. It goes particularly well with Roquefort and goat cheese. And you sailors, here is the wine for your boat’s ice chest. It tastes as good on the Pacific as it does on the Mediterranean.

[From the June 1988 Newsletter]

28 years later, the tiny Cassis appellation is glimmering like never before. Try the 2014 Cassis Blanc from Clos Sainte Magdeleine to see for yourself.

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