Located just 18 kilometres east of Marseilles, the picturesque port of Cassis is home to an active fishing fleet, numerous summer sun-seekers and a small but significant wine industry. Lying within the U.N.E.S.C.O world heritage site of 'Les Calanques', it is a stunning location for clifftop walking and sheltered sea swimming but the added attractions of terrific Mediterranean cuisine and the inimitable local wine make for a compelling holiday location.
The Sack-Zafiropoulo family's Clos Sainte Magdeleine is widely and rightly regarded as being amongst the very best of the twelve local wine producers, with enviably elevated vine holdings that extend over 20 hectares and are cultivated organically. Unlike the rest of Provence, the principal focus here (and in the appéllation as a whole) is on the production of white wine which perhaps unsurprisingly, has a fantastic affinity for the local seafood. The estate's main bottling of 'Clos Sainte Magdeine' blanc is made from a blend of Marsanne, Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Bourboulenc that are hand-harvested and vinified in concrete vats. The finished wine has beguiling scrub and citrus scents and a sensuous stone fruit palate with a long elegant finish. Since 2012, an old vine cuvée called 'Bel Arme' has also been produced from parcels of Marsanne, Ugni Blanc and Clairette that abut France's tallest sea cliff - the Cap Canaille. It has much the same appeal as the regular bottling but a little more weight and concentration meaning it can support more bottle age and richer dishes such as bouillabaisse.
The Sack-Zafiropoulos also produce an excellent Casis rosé that is made from a blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsault and Mourvèdre in descending proportions. It has a delightful coral pink robe, an uplifting 'crushed berry' bouquet and savoury red fruit palate underscored by fresh acidity. It makes for a marvellous al fresco aperitif or partner to crab or lobster.
A recent and welcome addition to the family portfolio is a Côtes de Provence rosé from a parcel of vines at Le Ciotat between Cassis and Bandol. Made from a blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Syrah it exudes the estate's signature finesse with wild strawberry aromas and a core of redcurrant and raspberry fruit.