The ancient fishing village and port of Cassis dates back to when Greek colonist arrived from Phocaea arrived in 600 BC….with them came the timeless Ugni Blanc and a knowledge of viticulture. Plantings were first made in the limestone clay deposits at the base of the Cap Canaille escarpment that juts up sharply along the coastline over 1200 feet.
We visited here for a day in mid September and tried to sample as many of the local producers’ Cassis Blanc as possible while enjoying the fresh caught seafood. The classic pairing with these dry, crisp, high acid and mineral driven whites is the fresh seasonal uni. It was out of season, so we indulged ourselves successfully with jumbo langostinos, mussels, scallops, and the local rock fish. The St Magdelaine is considered the finest and most “nervy” as its vineyards are the highest elevated in the small AOC (established in 1936 and now governs just 215 hectares). Although the best are age worthy, I like the youthful, high energy of the current release. This is a blend of 40% Marsanne, 30% Ugni blanc, 25% Clairette, 5% Bourboulenc.