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Classy Cassis

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Cassis 2012, Clos Sainte Magdeleine ($28.50, 12206129)
A blend of Marsanne (50%), Ugni Blanc (25%), Clairette (20%) and Bourboulenc (5%) from organically farmed 20- to 30-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Destemmend and crushed before pressing, which is pneumatic. The juice is transferred by gravity to a temperature-controlled stainless steel tank, where it is chilled and clarified though settling, then fermented at 17°C. Malolactic fermentation and 14 to 18 months’ maturation follow. 12.5% ABV.
Discreet nose with hints – but only hints – of white flowers, honey, quartz, white pepper and dried herbs. Rounder and weightier than the SAQ’s only other Cassis, the Clos d’Albizzi, but still fresh and appealing, albeit in that elusive way of some northern Rhône whites. The ethereal fruit is quince-like and scattered with dried lemon zest. Sustained if unassertive acidity, a definite saline streak and a bitter-tinged finish round out the picture. Inscrutable on its own, this really needs food – bouillabaisse or grilled seabass with a squirt of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil, for example – to show its mettle. First-rate if a little pricey (the appellation is small and demand for its wines is high). (Buy again? Yes.)

Written by carswell

May 17, 2014 at 19:38

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