The ancient fishing village of Cassis has seen its fair share of visitors over the millennia. The Phoenicians first arrived in the sixth century B.C., and with them came the timeless Ugni Blanc grape and viticultural savvy. The Romans later made their way here, as well as their Barbarian successors, followed by the medieval Counts of Les Baux, all the way to tourists of the modern era looking to escape the cold, dark cities. 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 cliffs, poised spectacularly above the sparkling, azure Mediterranean. With landscapes such as these, it is only fitting that writers and poets alike have found inspiration in Cassis. Only a handful of vignerons today are fortunate enough to produce A.O.C. Cassis, and the small quantities available are largely consumed locally with fresh fish—the best way to enjoy them. The Sack-Zafiropulos family has been making wine here for four generations and has continued to craft wines of grace and finesse, just as they were 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 is under the direction of François Sack. The domaine bottles both a white and a rosé, the latter of which is especially limited. Sack just started the three-year long conversion to organic viticulture, a philosophic progression after years of sustainable farming. 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.