Somm in the city

Published on August 7th, 2017

It’s not Nice or Cannes. It’s Cassis.

Recently, my favorite French importer Kermit Lynch shared an archival post from his legendary newsletter, aptly named ‘Inspiring Thirst’, about the region of Cassis. This little-known fishing village makes delectable white wines that pair with seafood, and Kermit’s post is too good not to share. Be transported to the Mediterranean, and then grab some Cassis for these last hot summer days.

“Sometimes I feel under appreciated because some people think my life is one big vacation. They don’t realize the effort it can take to obtain a decent bottle of wine.”

Yesterday, for example, I had to spend practically the entire day at Cassis. It is not like I can just taste the wine, agree on a price, and go home. No, I had to drive down to the harbor with the winemaker, jump from the pier onto his bobbing boat, and motor out onto the Mediterranean, scene of countless shipwrecks. The sun’s heat was blazing. I tried not to think of ozone depletion, sunburn, skin cancer … We had no choice but to jump into the cooling sea. Luckily I happened to be wearing a bathing suit. Just as I was about to dive in, I noticed a school of inch-long jellyfish floating by. Their sting can momentarily paralyze you and leave you in pain for days. I wondered, is this really worth it?

We motored out to safer waters and, finally, almost faint from heat prostration, I plunged into the cool blue water, a blue so beautiful I could barely stand it.

But still it was not over. Back at the domaine with its panoramic view of the cliffs and beaches of Cassis, I had to shelter myself under a tree and wait until the coals were ready for grilling a few local fish. Once they were cooked, we washed them down with some Cassis. (Of course. What do you think, a winemaker is going to serve me any wine other than his or her own? I told you this job is no vacation.)

But sitting there I finally got something accomplished. I was working it out in my mind: fish, Cassis, wine, Cassis wine, fish, fishing, etc., and all of a sudden it came to me. The white wine of Cassis was not invented to be shipped all over the world. It exists because once upon a time long ago the population of Cassis, a simple fishing village, needed something to drink with their catch, or seafood, as we call it. I thought to myself, why not recommend to my clientele that the next time they eat seafood, they drink a wine created to drink with it, Cassis. It works.”

Available at DEP’s:

Domaine du Bagnol Cassis, $17.99

Clos Ste Magdeleine Cassis,

Photos courtesy of Kermit Lynch

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