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2020 Cassis Blanc “Bel-Arme”

Clos Sainte Magdeleine
Discount Eligible $62.00
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I haven’t experienced deep winter on the Mediterranean coast, but if I had to guess, I imagine it’s similar to what we experience here in Berkeley—clear blue skies and brisk air, some rain and fog, and the occasional frost or dusting of snow on the coast mountain peaks. (I can imagine eyes rolling in the Midwest and Northeast.) Due to an extended aging on the lees, the Bel-Arme has the added depth and roundness for a bracing winter day. With a touch of creaminess following the crisp stone fruit, it’s a Mediterranean white in a cashmere sweater.

Dustin Soiseth


Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 65% Marsanne, 15% Clairette, 15% Ugni Blanc, 5% Bourboulenc
Appellation: Cassis
Country: France
Region: Provence
Producer: Clos Sainte Magdeleine
Winemaker: Jonathan Sack
Vineyard: Planted in 1962-1964, 1 ha
Soil: Clay, Limestone
Aging: Wine is aged in concrete eggs
Farming: Organic (certified)
Alcohol: 13%

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About The Region

Provence

map of Provence

Perhaps there is no region more closely aligned with the history to Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant than Provence. Provence is where Richard Olney, an American ex-pat and friend of Alice Waters, lived, and introduced Kermit to the great producers of Provence, most importantly Domaine Tempier of Bandol. Kermit also spends upwards of half his year at his home in a small town just outside of Bandol.

Vitis vinifera first arrived in France via Provence, landing in the modern day port city of Marseille in the 6th century BC. The influence of terroir on Provençal wines goes well beyond soil types. The herbs from the pervasive scrubland, often referred to as garrigue, as well as the mistral—a cold, drying wind from the northwest that helps keep the vines free of disease—play a significant role in the final quality of the grapes. Two more elements—the seemingly ever-present sun and cooling saline breezes from the Mediterranean—lend their hand in creating a long growing season that result in grapes that are ripe but with good acidity.

Rosé is arguably the most well known type of wine from Provence, but the red wines, particularly from Bandol, possess a great depth of character and ability to age. The white wines of Cassis and Bandol offer complexity and ideal pairings for the sea-influenced cuisine. Mourvèdre reigns king for red grapes, and similar to the Languedoc and Rhône, Grenache, Cinsault, Marsanne, Clairette, Rolle, Ugni Blanc among many other grape varieties are planted.

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Inspiring Thirst

I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.

Inspiring Thirst, page 171