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Wine Tasting

Old Field, New York
Level Contributor
496 posts
8 reviews
Wine Tasting

Hello

We plan on a day trip to Cassis from Marseille on Saturday, August 18. We shall be taking the train to Cassis and then the bus into the town and shall be arriving at about 8:30 AM. We have already decided to:

(1) Take the 9 Calanques Tour at 9:30 AM.

(2) Walk the Port area and visit the Plage de la Grand Mer, the Musee de Casis and/or the Le Four Banal.

What we would like to do is visit one (or two) of the Cassis vineyards for winetasting and, if available, tours. I have tried to do as much research as I can but a number of the winery websites appear to be non-working. My questions:

(1) are there one or two vineyards that can be reached either by walking or cab (if reasonable)?

(2) Do any of them offer tours for individuals (as opposed to groups)

(3) And while I know the white wines are the most dominant, do any of the wineries have a fair selection of reds (or roses)?

Thanks for any assistance you might be willing to share.

16 replies to this topic
Portland, Maine
Level Contributor
1,081 posts
53 reviews
1. Re: Wine Tasting

When we stayed in Cassis, we stopped at Domaine La Ferme Blanche to try wine on our way back from an outing, but we didn't take a tour, and I don't know if one is offered; it's a pretty small operation. Although we were driving, it seemed pretty close to the port area where we were staying, so walking might be possible. Another one that seems to be even closer, and appears to have tours, is Clos St. Madeleine (www.clossaintemagdeleine.fr/index.php/fr/).

As to colors, the majority of Cassis wines are white, with a fair amount of rose also being made. Very little red is made, but I remember that La Ferme Blanche did have a red Cassis.

Aix-en-Provence...
Level Contributor
554 posts
47 reviews
2. Re: Wine Tasting

All of the wineries in Cassis are small family run operations. Without prior arrangement via a wine merchant you're not going to get a tour in the California sense(and if you've seen one de-stemmer/crusher you've seen them all). Clos Ste Magdeleine does tastings, and there's a chance if you ring the bell at Chateau Bagnol they'll let you in and offer a tasting. That being said, if you taste, buy.

Vence, France
Level Contributor
10,390 posts
149 reviews
3. Re: Wine Tasting

In August there won't be much work going on in the vineyard at all. And when you taste you always feel the need to buy something.

I'll never get it...

Aix-en-Provence...
Level Contributor
554 posts
47 reviews
4. Re: Wine Tasting

With small producers I always feel that one should purchase something as they don't have the advantages of quantity of the bigger houses or co-op's. If they charge for tastings, then I don't feel that pressure.

The village will be packed solid on a Saturday, so if you want lunch you should make reservations at any of the restaurants on the port - choose your restaurant and walk up and ask, but it's likely that as you're getting back from your calanques tour at around 11:30, the earliest reservation you'll be able to get will be around 13:00 - 13:30. You might want to phone or reserve online(good luck with that) from where you're staying in Marseille the night before.

Restaurants with the best views of the port and Cap Canaille, from most expensive to least - Nino, Le Grand Large, Le Bistro, La Maison(formerly El Sol), Le Naio (tapas) followed by the ones that are sidewalk level - Gilbert, L'Oustau de la Mar, La Vielle Auberge(our least favorite), Nonna, Poissonerie Laurent, Monsieur Brun, Marco Polo, La Voute, Le France, Le Golfe, Le Cannaille, 8 et Demi, etc. There is a new ice cream shop that is excellent - and I'm not talking about Amarino.

Save the walk around and museum for after lunch. The museum visit is going to take you about 45 minutes if you dawdle and Le Four Banal around 15. You might want to walk up to Bestouan Plage (less than a 1km from the town center). The view of Cap Canaille from there is lovely(plus there's the house on the point at the right side of the beach that was in one of the opening scenes of 'The French Connection').

Old Field, New York
Level Contributor
496 posts
8 reviews
5. Re: Wine Tasting

Thank you all for your wonderful feedback.

I have some flexibility in my schedule and quite frankly, the main reason for going to Cassis is the Calanques tour and seeing what everyone says is a quaint village and some beautiful scenery. Therefore, would it make more sense to change days and head to Cassis on a Monday when, I expect, the crowds will be less than the weekend? I would give up the wineries (we are visiting many in other locations anyway).

Could someone let me know if Cassis would be somewhat lesss hectic and crowded on a Monday in summer?

Thanks so much.

Vence, France
Level Contributor
10,390 posts
149 reviews
6. Re: Wine Tasting

In mid-August it makes no difference. There will be crowds all over all the time.

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Old Field, New York
Level Contributor
496 posts
8 reviews
7. Re: Wine Tasting

Yikes! That is more like Coney Island than an idyllic French beach (-: I am thinking that if my goal is the Calanques, I might just decide to take one of the boat trips from Marseille--no crowds other than the 10 people on the boat! Thanks for the information,

Vence, France
Level Contributor
10,390 posts
149 reviews
8. Re: Wine Tasting

Depends on the boat...

Aix-en-Provence...
Level Contributor
554 posts
47 reviews
9. Re: Wine Tasting

It's not like Coney Island, but it is crowded in August.

Keep your reservation for the calanques tour but be prepared to improvise for restaurants.

Relax, it's the south of France. You're going to drink good wine, meet interesting people, and eat good fish.

'Le soleil.... La mer.... Le ciel...Unhh.... Pas mal.' - Said ironically by a waiter in Cassis when we said how beautiful it was.

Portland, Maine
Level Contributor
1,081 posts
53 reviews
10. Re: Wine Tasting

Check out recommendations and ratings for restaurants in Cassis before you dine. We had dinner at one place right on the port that had been recommended by our nieces and their husbands, but I think it was more for the setting than the food. It was a real disappointment, and a tablefull of loud Americans was seated right near us.. The next night we decided to walk away from the port to find a restaurant, and found a lovely place that clearly was favored by locals.

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