Clos Ste. Magdeleine Cotes de Provence Rose 2020



“Pale Salmon hue, seductive aromas of nuanced strawberry, melon, tropical fruits, and a savory wild herb note. All this is followed by lovely depth and focus through the palate, all while maintaining an elegant and ethereal element at the same time, those characteristics being the very essence of Clos Ste. Magdeleine! This wine is infused with the elements of its location in one of the most special places on earth – sun, scrubby rocky landscape, brilliant blue sea and sky, cool breezes and impeccable farming and winemaking. Enjoy this all on its own, or with seafood of all kinds, (nicoise comes to mind!), charcuterie, cheeses, grilled or roasted vegetables, tapenades, olives, capers, crusty baguettes, grilled fish, chicken, Jersey corn and tomatoes, and so much more.” Cheers, Chris

I have alway joked that if there was just one winery in the entire world that I could own, it would hands down be the incredibly beautiful Clos Ste. Magdeleine. Perched on a cliff above the sparkling Mediteranean Sea in the fishing village of Cassis, it is set like a jewel in that amazing stretch of coast between Marseille and Saint-Tropez. Quite simply put, its location is breathtaking.

Owned by the Sack-Zafiropulo family for four generations, the property is framed by the sea and the backdrop of Cap Canaille, France’s highest sea cliff just to the east across an azure cove. Here the land is so valuable that they had to set up laws and regulations to preserve the few remaining vineyards and open space so they wouldn’t be torn out, developed, and replaced with very expensive vacation homes. There are just a dozen growers today, and the entire AOC totals just 215 hectares (about the size of one Grand Cru Bordeaux Estate.) The majority of its wines never leave – washed down with the region’s spectacular fresh fish by locals and tourists alike. The history of winemaking here dates back to the 6th Century BC when Greek sailors brought vines to the region and planted what most believe were Provence’s first vineyards. Add to all that the La Villa Madie, a Two Star Michelin restaurant just next door, and I’d say this is foodie/winey nirvana.

And then there are the wines. They produce several whites, which locally are all the rage, and they are quite delicious especially with the abundant seafood of the region. But the rosés steal the show in my opinion – year in year out among my top rosés of the vintage – wines that exemplify the very nature of French rosé.

Their flagship Cassis Rosé is now highly allocated and difficult to get if you are not already on the list. (Word to the wise: for the first time since the Wall Street Journal named this Rosé of the Year almost a decade ago we have tiny amounts available – email if interested!

The Cotes de Provence cuvee was created in 2019 when the Sack family were able to negotiate a deal to buy the wines from this superb parcel of vines (owned by long time family friends) after years of negotiating. Located just over the hill where their prime terraced vineyards lie, it is also just outside the Cassis AOC, thus its Côtes de Provence moniker. It is 35% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 20% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah from vines planted in 1979-1999, (30 years average), grown in perfect clay and limestone soils. It is a tiny parcel, just 4.5 hectares, and my bet is in less that a decade this will be the same price and be as highly allocated, if not more so, as the Cassis Rosé.


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