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2021 Côtes de Provence “Blanc de Blancs”

Clos Saint-Joseph
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The cool 2021 is what Roch refers to as a millésime alpin, and indeed, the bright, pure wines born from it are more Alpine in character than Mediterranean. You will taste the abundant limestone in the soil, as well as the chilly winds that blow down from the surrounding mountain ridges, in each glass of this refined blend of Rolle, Ugni Blanc, Sémillon, and Clairette.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2021
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 40% Rolle, 30% Ugni Blanc, 25% Sémillon, 5% Clairette
Appellation: Côtes de Provence
Country: France
Region: Provence
Producer: Clos Saint-Joseph
Winemaker: Roch Sassi
Vineyard: 1.7 ha, 5, 30, and 90 years old
Soil: Clay, limestone
Farming: Biodynamic (practicing)
Alcohol: 12%

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About The Region

Provence

map of Provence

There is perhaps no region more closely aligned with the history of Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant than Provence. While Kermit began his career as a Burgundy specialist, he soon fell in love with Provence and its wines, notably the legendary Bandols of Domaine Tempier, which he began importing in 1977. He later began living in the area part-time, returning frequently between tasting trips, and today he spends most of his time at his home just outside of Bandol.

Provence is thought to be France’s most ancient wine region, established when Greek settlers landed in the modern-day port city of Marseille in the 6th century BC. The conditions here are ideal for cultivation of the grapevine, with a hot, dry climate and a prevalence of poor, rocky soils, primarily limestone-based, suitable for vines and not much else. The ever-present southern sunshine as well as the mistral, a cold, drying wind from the northwest that helps keep the vines free of disease, are crucial elements of Provençal terroir. Wild herbs from the pervasive scrubland, called garrigue, and cooling saline breezes from the Mediterranean also contribute to the quality and character of wines in all three colors.

Provence is well known for its rosés, but red wines have always held importance here. The very best, such as those from Bandol, possess great depth and a capacity for long-term aging. The white wines, notably those of Cassis, offer weight balanced by a maritime freshness, making them ideal pairings for the local seafood. Mourvèdre reigns king for red grapes, supported mainly by Grenache and Cinsault, while Clairette, Marsanne, Rolle, and Ugni Blanc are the region’s principal white grapes.

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Where the newsletter started

Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch

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