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The Quintessential Provençal Refresher

The Quintessential Provençal Refresher

by Anthony Lynch by Anthony Lynch

2021 Côtes de Provence Rosé

2021 Côtes de Provence Rosé

Clos Sainte Magdeleine   

Discount Eligible $32.00
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Blanc has always been the focus since we began importing Clos Sainte Magdeleine’s wines in the late 1970s, with their fennel- and sea-salt-inflected Cassis setting the standard for Mediterranean whites. But vigneron Jonathan Sack also bottles a Cassis rosé each year, a delicate expression of mainly Grenache and Cinsault that is, sadly, made in tiny quantities. 
     As of recently, there is a brand new rosé in the Clos Sainte Magdeleine lineup. The Côtes de Provence is sourced from a vineyard in La Ciotat, about halfway between Cassis and Bandol and not far from the Mediterranean coast. Using a similar blend to the Cassis rosé, Sack has crafted what is perhaps the quintessential Provençal refresher—an uplifting nectar of bright citrus, fresh berry fruit, wild herbs, and salty sea air—that is a far cry from the countless technological, mass-marketed examples in production throughout the region.       
     No, Sack’s bears a distinct sense of place, and it's someplace we all want to be: under the sun, by the sea, glass in hand, a bowl of briny olives within reach. Monsieur, a refill, s’il vous plaît!

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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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Terroirs

Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.

Inspiring Thirst, page 312