Couronne de Charlemagne Blanc 2013 **
Domaine du Paternel, created in 1951, is run by Jean-Pierre Santini, his wife and their three children. It is one of the great wineries in the Cassis AOC, having turned to organic production. The other property, Couronne de Charlemagne, located at the foot of the eponymous hillside, is also run organically. This cuvée enchanted the jury with its complex, fresh, and delicate aromatic expression. A bucket of gorgeous fruits (citrus, watermelon, peach, pear) characterises the nose, embellished by wafts of floral notes (broom flower, white blossoms). Altogether, the palate is a vibrant offering. A lovely, nervy treat of a Cassis wine.
Le Domaine du Paternel Blanc de Blancs 2013 * a dense wine, with immediate mineral freshness punctuated with a touch of salinity and citrus zest.
Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Papé 2012 **
A firm favourite in the last edition, this wine producer has distinguished itself this year with a Cuvée Papé made from mostly Marsanne and adorned with a calm, beautiful yellow colour. Forward and powerful, the nose evokes flowers (broom blossom) and eucalyptus, while the ample, fat, well-balanced palate evolves towards notes of broom blossom and buttercup. Enjoy with grilled monkfish with pan grilled fennel bulbs. The main cuvée, Blanc de Blancs 2012, has earned a star. It is a more taught expression, its register falling between citrus fruit and minerality. The 2012 Rosé has also earned a star; its amylic (the notes of confectionery or bubblegum similar to that found in youthful Beaujolais) notes will marry well with Basque-style chicken.
Blanc de Blancs 2011 **
One of the biggest wineries in the Cassis AOC, aiming to turn to organic production (to obtain certification in 2012). This year’s love affair, the Blanc de Blancs 2011 adorned with a beautiful gold colour with a green rim, doesn’t hold back on the nose, rich with delicate white blossom, apricot and bergamot. The palate, with its lovely weight, combines fresh fruit and smoothness with subtle sugared almond accents. Balance is there, underlined by a long, toned and elegant finish. A lovely way to spend an autumn meal with some scallops. Two stars are also awarded to the 2011 Couronne de Charlemagne white, opulent and complex on the nose (blackcurrant bud tomato leaf, exotic fruit), and a lifted palate of fruit, at once warming and fresh. A well-rounded wine which nearly had us fall in love. Also worth trying, the delicious 2011 Grande Réserve red, which is awarded a star for its fruity, spiced nose and its unctuous, well-bound palate.
Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Gabrielle 2010 **
The two generations of the Santini family have invested themselves in this winery and offer a remarkable blend of Clairette, Marsanne and Doucillon (Bourboulenc). Under nuances of green, this white wine unveils an expressive, exotic nose (mango, pineapple, passionfruit) underlined by an elegant floral touch. The palate distinguishes itself equally well with its aromatic character, offering a nearly perfect balance between smoothness, weight and freshness. Thai chicken is a perfect food match.
Le Blanc de Blancs 2010 is awarded a star for its accents of white blossoms and pomelo, combined with a persistent palate, rich and complex, dominated by citrus notes. A star is also awarded for the Domaine Couronne de Charlemagne 2010 white from the same producer: a more mineral wine, very fruit-driven and very refined.
Grande Réserve 2008 Red
Even though white wines are the main attraction of this appellation, here the jury preferred the 2008 red with its intense purple colour. Grenache and Mourvedre express themselves in a warm manner, with notes of cherry, bilberry and prune. The structure is tight, a little closed but very present and generous. The finish returns to black fruits with a hint of an animal undertone to seal the deal. The wine will mature well over two to four years. Couronne de Charlemagne 2009 white starts out with citrus aromas, then evolves to honeyed noted while keeping roundness, vivacity and length. One star. Authenticity comes in the form of Cuvée Césario 2009 white which expresses a lovely fruit character at the heart of a balanced palate which is also quite fresh. It has received an honourable mention.
Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Raphaël 2007 *
With its light gold hue, this 2007 unveils aromas of hazelnut and verbena to begin with on the nose, then come baked fruits. Its dense palate allied with its savage freshness, in the manner of sage and scrub land bushes, are typical of this wonderful wine. The Blanc de Blancs 2008, pleasant, balanced and a little minty, is also awarded one star as well as the Grande Réserve 2007 red, intense with its intense black fruit (bilberry, blackberry), both fresh and structured.
This wine producer created in 1951, is run by Jean-Pierre Santini, his wife and their three children. A real family story! Combining Clairette (50% of the blend) with Marsanne and Bourboulenc, this 2006 is a scintillating pale wine with a green rim. With time to breathe, the nose produces an interesting aromatic complexity: fresh fruit, fennel seeds, floral and honeyed notes. Well-constructed, the palate is expressive, finishing on a warm note with accents of lemon marmalade. A wine very much in the spirit of the appellation, to be served with fish with sauce.
Grande Réserve 2005 *
Last year’s favourite white producer now offers a rosé and a red. The tasters’ preference goes to the red, still full of youth, which delivers aromas of red fruit (sour cherry) and woody notes. The palate is well-balanced between roundness and liveliness. The Rosé 2006, round and warm with preserved fruit flavours, also earns the same score.
Blanc de Blancs 2005 **
From the name of the winery to the history of the property, all steeped in a sense of family. For over forty years at the head of the property created by his uncle, Jean-Pierre Santini now works with his three children. The appearance of this white wine harvested in the last days of August has an almost luminous linden yellow colour. Very characteristic of the appellation, its expressive nose is reminiscent of rose, iris and peach. Ample, fat and round on the delivery, it evolves into notes of lively apricots in a welcome vibrant middle point on the palate, with a persistent finish returning to those floral and fruity notes. It is ready to drink, but would keep for a further few years. The Grande Réserve 2004 red receives an honourable mention for its freshness, and its spicy and fruity palate.
Rosé 2004 **
On the edge of the Couronne de Charlemagne range, the vineyard stretches out to the Cap Canaille headland. Jean-Pierre Santini, the head of the winery since 1962, is now helped by his two sons. His rosé wine, with its pail appearance, flatters the nose with its strawberry, pear and mango aromas. After a supple initial delivery on the palate, the fruit is given some depth by a sustained liveliness which ensures a remarkable length on the finish. The 2004 white perfectly represents the appellation by the elegance of its exotic and floral aromas and by its full body. It earned one star. The Grande Réserve 2003 red receives an honourable mention.