Located in the heart of the stunning Parc National de Calanques, the picturesque fishing port of Cassis is sometimes criticised for being the playground of the idle yachting rich due to its superb scenery, Mediterranean setting, clement climate, outstanding seafood and rich viticultural heritage. Tant pis – the same attributes have also attracted writers, painters, poets and bon viveurs. It is arguably advisable to visit 'off ' season when finding a parking place is plausible and less queuing is necessary.
The Sack-Zafiropoulo family have been supplying us with their wine since 1977 and although we always enjoy visiting them, happily they export directly to us. With around 12 hectares of vines in Cassis, 4.5 hectares of Côtes-de-Provence and just under 2 hectares of Bouches-du-Rhône, all of their vine holdings are farmed organically - producing wines with distinctive flavours and a strong sense of their coastal terroir.
Their classic white Cassis is made from a blend of Marsanne, Ugni Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc that is vinified in concrete vats. The finished wine has a limpid straw colour, citrus and wild herb scents and a sensuous stone-fruit palate with an elegant, dry finish. Its raison d'être is to accompany seafood - which it does par excellence. A second white Cassis, called Bel-Arme, after the parcelle from which it hails. It is broadly the same blend but is partially raised in concrete 'eggs' to impart additional weight and a fuller texture. It too has citrus and tropical fruit nuances and enough body to accompany a broad variety of Mediterranean dishes.
The family also make a characterful Cassis rosé that enjoys a loyal following on the Côte d'Azur. Made from a blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsault and Mourvèdre in descending proportions. With an attractive coral-pink hue, soft red fruit aromas and palate of strawberries and raspberries offset by fresh acidity, it is a quintessential al fresco aperitif or partner to lobster or langoustines.
Completing a commendable compendium is a Côtes de Provence rosé from a parcel of vines at Le Ciotat between Cassis and Bandol. Made from Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Syrah, it is redolent of redcurrants and crushed summer berries and is best enjoyed outdoors in the sunshine.