You may be familiar with Bordeaux, Champagne and Burgundy but, have you heard of Cassis? Not many people know that Cassis was the first Appellation D’Origine Contrôlée in France. So, it is only fair that we begin our adventure in Provence, in Cassis. We stayed in a cute farm-house surrounded by vineyands, in the valley between the Medieval towns of Le Castellet and La Cadiere d’ Azure. Our friends, Kim and Todd found the house on VRBO. It is in the heart of Bandol and the perfect location for our base of operation.
Cassis is located on the French Riviera. It has some nice beaches and it is surrounded by cliffs known as the Calanques. The Calanques provide spectacular views of private beaches only accessible by boat.
The Wines of Cassis
The red and rosé wines are Grenache based blends, with Syrah and Cinsault. The white wines are a blend of Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Marsanne and Rollé.
Domaine du Bagnol. White wine: Marsanne, Clairette and Ugni Blanc, aged in stainless steel. This one reminded me of a Sauvignon Blanc from Cuvasion, Napa Valley. The rosé is 48% Grenache, 34% Mourvedra and 18% Cinsault. Domaine Bangol produces 100,000 bottles per year. Our next stop was Domaine du Paternel.
Domaine du Paternel produces approximately 450,000 bottles per year. They produce a GSM + Cinsault and Rollé aged in stainless steel. Their Blanc de blanc is a blend of Clairette, Marsanne, and Ugni Blanc. Their red is a blend of Grenache and Mourvedra aged for one year in oak. Our final stop of the day was at Le Moulin de la Roque.
Moulin de la Roque was established in 1950 and it is located in the AOC of Bandol. They produce 1.3 million bottles per year. They are a co-op of different vineyard owners. They bottle under five different labels to showcase their five different terriors. In the Bandol AOC, the red and rosé wines has to be a minimum of 50% Mourvedra. The Blanc is made of Ugni Blanc and Clairette. The rosé is Mourvedra, Grenache and Cinsault. The red is 90% Mourvedra, 10% Carignan. They have a second blend of 95% Mourvedra and 5% Carignan. I found the Mourvedra in this region to have a lot of minerality , lite fruit hints and tannins from the mid pallet to a short finish. Our host was Tim, was kind enough to give us a tour of their facility.
We ended the day with fine dining at a Michelin Star restaurant Todd found. Le Goguette is located in the Medieval town of Le Castellet. Dinner was superb. Wine with dinner was Domaine Richaud ,Cairanne 2015. A well balanced blend of Claret, Bourboulenc, Roussane, Vigonier and Marsanne. The red was from La Sagesse. A blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah. I highly recommend Le Goguette and Domaine Richaud’s Cairanne 2015. Perfect paring.
Au Revoir for now.