Sunday, June 27, 2010

Clos Sainte Magdeleine, Cassis

One of our favorite seaside villages is Cassis and we go there almost every time we are in Provence. Cassis is tucked into a curve of coast between Marseille and La Ciotat below Cap Canaille, the highest seaside cliff in France.

The centre ville - center of town, of Cassis is a lively place with a beach, a harbor filled with boats, and a row of pastel-colored cafés full of people sipping pastis and eating seafood.

The roadway from the A 50 autoroute winds down to Cassis cutting through vineyards towards the shimmering Mediterranean Sea. The wineries of Cassis produce red and rosé wines but its the Cassis blanc - white wine for which they are best known.

Despite the fact that since opening our Bistro Des Copains four years ago, we have had wines from Cassis on the wine list, we have never taken time to déguster - taste wines in Cassis. Cassis was granted AOC status in 1936 when the first Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée were awarded.

The best known winery in Cassis is probably Clos Sainte Magdeleine. Clos Sainte Magdeleine is located within walking distance of town on Avenue du Revestel on a parcel of land facing the sea below Cap Canaille.

The winery and tasting room are in a simple concrete building.

We were greeted and invited to go to the lower level where the tasting room and caves are located.

Shirley with our friend Julia, our winery hostess, and friends Allison and Kari in the Clos Sainte Magdeleine tasting room. We tasted the 2009 Rosé AOC Cassis and the 2008 Blanc AOC Cassis.

Clos Sainte Magdeleine sits on a beautiful site, the land worth far more as a resort than as a winery I am very sure.

I am not sure it would even be permissible to convert this land into a resort but I am very happy the owners have resisted any temptation to do so.

It is worth going to Clos Sainte Magdeleine just for the view if not for tasting the wine.

Besides grapes, there are trees, flowers and vegetables like purple artichokes growing on the land surrounding the winery buildings.

After tasting the wines and walking through the caves, we were invited to go out to the vineyards on the estate. We walked down a tree-lined gravel road out to the vineyards.

Clos Sainte Magdeleine has 9.5 hectares - a little more than 23 acres planted in vineyards, of which 6 acres are on the estate. The rest of the vineyards are planted on terraces below Cap Canaille.

There is Marsanne, Uni Blanc and Clairette planted for white wine and Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault planted for making rosé wine. Clos Sainte Magdeleine does not make red wine.

Our friends Allison and Julia fooling around after our tasting and tour of beautiful Clos Sainte Magdeleine.

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