Region: Cassis, Provence
Varieties: 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 20% Mourvèdre
Terroir: 2.2 Hectares; Average 35 year old vines on Clay and Limestone Soils
Winemaking: Certified Organic; Grapes are de-stemmed and lightly crushed before pressing, Fermented with native yeasts; No malolactic fermentation; Aged in stainless steel tanks on fine lees until spring
“Cassis is not only an active port, but what Kermit calls “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. The domaine also has prized holdings on steep terraces carved into the sensational Cap Canaille, France’s highest sea cliff perched 400 meters over the Mediterranean. 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 Sack-Zafiropulo family has been making wine here for four generations and continues to craft whites of grace and finesse, just as they did when founder Jules Savon won the Gold Medal for the domaine at the World’s Fair in 1900. That they share their limited quantities with us makes this long-term relationship all the more special.
Viticulture and vinification at Clos Sainte Magdeleine are under the direction of Jonathan Sack, who took the reins from his father, François, in 2008. The domaine bottles both whites and rosés, the latter of which are especially limited. Sack completed conversion to organic viticulture in 2012, a philosophic progression after years of sustainable farming. He has also introduced new ideas from concrete egg vinification to experimentation with Vermentino, exploring the immense potential of this striking maritime terroir with curiosity and precision. 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.” -Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant