The Explore 4: Mediterranean France

The Explore 4: Mediterranean France

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SommSelect’s “Explore 4” surveys the vast landscape of wine and breaks it into small, digestible bites. Each month, we select four bottles that fit a theme, allowing members to experience a diversity of styles while developing their own palate preferences. It’s an ongoing exploration of wine through a sommelier’s eyes and there’s no more effective, and enjoyable, way to learn about wine.

Mediterranean France is a vast, densely populated wine landscape. Stretching from France’s border with Spain to its border with Italy—and covering some 1,100 kilometers of mainland coastline—this is a long way from Bordeaux and Burgundy, in style and price. And that’s what’s great about it: When it comes to French wine values, the Mediterranean is the place to be. Here is what is in the box: 

Domaine du Bagnol, Cassis Blanc 2021

It doesn’t get more stereotypically “Mediterranean” than the port town of Cassis, about 20 miles east of Marseille on the French Riviera. Domaine Bagnol sits beneath the limestone outcropping of Cap Canaille and is about 200 meters from the sea. This is an excellent example of a Provençal white, in that it combines the lush, textured Marsanne (50%) with the crisper Clairette Blanc (35%) and Ugni Blanc (15%). This is a textured white, with a slightly oily note on the palate and notes of yellow peach, orange blossom and beeswax.

Domaine Le Galantin, Bandol Rosé 2022

In Bandol, just east of Marseille, bush-trained vines cling to steep terraces in a south-facing, terraced “amphitheater” that faces the Mediterranean Sea. Le Galantin began in 1960 when Achille Pascale purchased a property planted to old vines and olive trees. For a decade, he farmed the land and sold the fruit, then he decided to bottle 130 cases of rosé in 1972. The vineyard source for this wine boasts an average vine age of 50 years, providing well-concentrated raw material for this lip-smacking rosé.

Mas des Capitelles, Faugères “Vieilles Vignes” 2020

Faugères is in the central Languedoc, with its best vineyards on schist-rich soils on the foothills of the Cévennes Mountains. Mas des Capitelles was founded in 1999 by ninth-generation vigneron Jean Laugé, who has implemented organic and biodynamic farming practices in his 30 hectares. The blend is Mourvèdre 50%, Syrah 25%, and Carignan 25%, sourced from “cruelly poor” schist soils. The Mourvèdre bona fides via its lavender-scented aromatics while the Carignan provides plummy, saturated bass notes, and the Syrah adds black/blue fruit and  peppery spice.

Clos du Caillou, Côtes du Rhône “Cuvée Unique” Vieilles Vignes 2021

Although this wine is labeled “Côtes du Rhône,” Caillou’s vineyards are almost surrounded by Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC vineyards. The 2021 release is a blend of 80% Grenache with splashes of Syrah, Carignan, Counoise, and Mourvèdre fermented in steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. After a quick decant, it fires out of the glass with explosive, luxurious aromas like wild raspberry, blackberry, Bing cherry, redcurrant, and red licorice. However, a great deal of savory/earthy components lie just underneath that rich wall of primary fruit. 

Interested in learning more about this Explore 4 theme? Check out our Unboxing video where our sommeliers provide a more in-depth explanation on the wines in this box! Click below to watch the video. 

If you enjoyed the Unboxing video and want to see more, check out our Club sign-up-page to make it official with a subscription and get exclusive access to this content and more!

Please Note: This item is a pre-packed selection chosen by our team of sommeliers and will ship on its own. It is ineligible for “Build-a-Case.”

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