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2023 Méditerranée Blanc

Clos Sainte Magdeleine
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This herbaceous and most thirst-quenching new arrival hails from the jaw-dropping seaside estate of Clos Sainte Magdeleine, where sheer limestone cliffs rise out of bright blue waters beneath the jagged face of Cap Canaille. The bluffs here endure a never-ending sea wind that winemaker Jonathan Sack likens to “being at the helm of a ship.” The scent of wildflowers, cypress, herbs, and sea salt mingle languidly on the perpetual breeze.
     A 50/50 assemblage of Ugni Blanc and Vermentino, this balanced blend manages to expertly capture the best of both grapes. The Ugni Blanc imparts citrusy freshness and zippy acidity, while the Vermentino brings a lush texture and aromatic complexity. In tandem, the two varieties create a white that breaks the mold entirely for what we’ve come to expect from this magical stretch of Provençal coastline.
     To create a white so distinctly different from its sea-kissed siblings, Jonathan sources the grapes from high-altitude vines in the nearby village of Ceyreste, about 400 meters above sea level. Jonathan says, “The new site sits in what is considered the start of continental Provence—far from the urbanization of the coast, yet still within reach of marine winds which regularly sweep through.”
     A stimulating counterpart to their already stellar lineup of refreshing rosés and mineral whites, this charming blend will enliven the palate and ensnare the senses—be it a solo act at apéro hour or a dynamic at-table entertainer. An obvious match for fresh seafood like Dungeness crab cocktail or ahi tacos, it is sure to enliven your winter table alongside hearty bitter salads or herbaceous soups.

Madison H. Brown

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2023
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 50% Ugni blanc, 50% Vermentino
Appellation: I.G.P. Méditerranée
Country: France
Region: Provence
Producer: Clos Sainte Magdeleine
Winemaker: Jonathan Sack
Soil: Clay, Limestone
Farming: Organic (certified)
Alcohol: 13%

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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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Sampling wine out of the barrel.

When buying red Burgundy, I think we should remember:

1. Big wines do not age better than light wine.
2. A so-called great vintage at the outset does not guarantee a great vintage for the duration.
3. A so-called off vintage at the outset does not mean the wines do not have a brilliant future ahead of them.
4. Red Burgundy should not taste like Guigal Côte-Rôtie, even if most wine writers wish it would.
5. Don’t follow leaders; watch yer parking meters.

Inspiring Thirst, page 174

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