Wine-making has been a part of the local culture in Cassis for thousands of years. Apart from the stunning coastal views, the hillside vineyards make up a significant portion of the landscape.

Cassis wines were among the first in France to receive the AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) designation, and the city is known primarily for its crisp white wines, which pair perfectly with the local seafood. Wine-tastings, offered by various vineyards, are a great way to spend a few hours and sample these distinctive wines.

Domaine du Paternel

One of the vineyards worth visiting is Domaine du Paternel, a third-generation family operation that produces a nice selection of wines, including rosé and red, all certified organic “from the vine to the wine.”

Wine Tasting Experience

During our visit, we had the opportunity to sample a selection of white wines that were light, crisp, and refreshing – not too sweet and not too dry. The tasting experience allows visitors to appreciate the unique characteristics of Cassis wines and understand why they are so highly regarded.

Winery Tour

Along With the tasting, we were given a tour of the inner workings of the winery, where we learned about their wine-making process.

The Loading Dock

At the loading dock, we saw where the grapes are “refreshed” before being conveyed up to the pressing room. This crucial step ensures that the grapes are in optimal condition before the pressing begins.

Pressing and Fermenting

From the loading dock, the grapes are pressed, filtered, and sent to the appropriate fermenting tank. The winery features a mix of modern stainless steel tanks and older tanks set into walls of glossy black Aubagne tile, showcasing the blend of tradition and innovation in their wine-making process.

Bottling Process

During our visit, we were fortunate enough to witness the bottling process. Most medium and small vineyards don’t own their own bottling equipment, so this process is carried out on-site over a span of a few days by contractors using mobile equipment. It was fascinating to see the care and precision that goes into bottling these exceptional wines.

Additional Facilities

Along With the cellars, vineyards, and tasting room, the property at Domaine du Paternel includes a cottage set back from the main building. This space is available for meetings and seminars, providing a tranquil and inspiring setting for various events.

Planning Your Visit

Domaine du Paternel offers wine-tastings several days per week. Be sure to check their website for information on dates and times, or contact them directly to make arrangements. The vineyard is located at 11 route Pierre Imbert, making it easily accessible for visitors to Cassis.

Tips for Wine-Tasting in Cassis

  • Plan ahead and make reservations, especially during peak season, to ensure a spot at the vineyards you wish to visit.
  • Pace yourself and don’t feel obligated to finish every glass – it’s perfectly acceptable to spit or pour out excess wine during a tasting.
  • Take notes on the wines you particularly enjoy, so you can purchase a bottle or two to take home as a souvenir or gift.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions – the knowledgeable staff at the vineyards are passionate about their wines and are happy to share their expertise.

Exploring the Wine Culture of Cassis

Beyond Domaine du Paternel, there are several other vineyards in Cassis that offer wine-tasting experiences. Each vineyard has its own unique character and style, so visiting multiple wineries can provide a comprehensive understanding of the local wine culture.

Pairing Cassis Wines with Local Cuisine

The crisp white wines of Cassis are particularly well-suited to the local seafood dishes, such as bouillabaisse, grilled fish, and oysters. When dining out in Cassis, be sure to ask for recommendations on local wine pairings to enhance your culinary experience.

Bringing Home a Piece of Cassis

Many of the vineyards in Cassis, including Domaine du Paternel, offer the opportunity to purchase bottles of their wines on-site. Bringing home a bottle or two is a great way to share a piece of your Cassis experience with friends and family, or to savor the memories of your visit long after you’ve returned home.

Final Words

Visiting a vineyard and participating in a wine-tasting is a must-do activity when in Cassis. The experience provides insight into the long-standing wine-making traditions of the region and allows visitors to sample the crisp, refreshing wines that have made Cassis famous. Domaine du Paternel, with its organic wines, informative tour, and inviting atmosphere, is an excellent choice for those looking to explore the world of Cassis wines. By incorporating a wine-tasting experience into your itinerary, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the local culture and the important role that wine-making plays in the identity of this charming French coastal town.

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