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G + 12 : Cassis - Free again!

Sailboats outside Toulon, probably as we on the Way to Marseille or Cassis

There was something unusual this morning at 05.45 am. It was so quiet. Right! After three days we got used to the noise of the Mistral, the waves banging loudly against the hull and the whistling of the boat's riggings. This morning it was quiet - really quiet. Time to get up and check the waves - all the white tops gone! Over night, windspeed dropped to 9 knots and was to drop further. The swell was still high but we could sail. It was time to say good bye to the Yacht Harbour of Porquerolles who kept us so safe for the last 2 1/2 days.

The Absence of Noise woke us up - no waves in the harbour

Our destination today is the small town of Cassis, 20 kilometres to the east of Marseille. On the way we will pass Toulon, Bandol and Ciotat. We are not the only boat leaving. Every body got ready after two days of waiting. The spirit of "Let's go!" was in the air. Smiling faces everywhere. Boat rentals go Saturday to Saturday. Now people know they can return their boats on time and do not have to worry about missing their plane or train. The air though was colder than yesterday. The fabulous luminosity more than compensated.

At least a dozen Sailboats left the Port of Porquerolles with us at 8 am in the morning

After leaving Porquerolles, we cruised along the part of the French Riviera which produces 5% of the world's rosé. For many years, global rosé production was on the rise. In 2021, 19.5 million hectolitres were produced globally. France is the world's biggest producer with a share of 35%. One seventh comes from the coast we were sailing along.

Chateau Léoube, one of the leading rosé producer near Briançon, the Summer Site of the French Presidents. Due to the Mistral, we had to cancel our lunch booking and wine tour

Of course this triggered my curiosity. How and when was rosé invented? Having red and white wine seems logic since there are red and white grapes. The answer was surprising. Rosé wine always existed and is much older than red wine. The Phoenicians, Greek and Romans drank rosé which they called red. Our ancestors did not have the sophisticated wine making techniques we have today. The skin of the grapes could not stay for too long with the grape juice. With modern steel or concrete tanks we tightly limit the supply of oxygen and control the fermentation. That is something that could not be done in the past. Wine makers were in a hurry to avoid wine turning into vinegar.

These days, we need to decant many of our full Red Wines since they need Oxygen to fully develop their flavour and taste

With new technology, red wines in the traditional regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux got more red and deeper. The wines in the Provence stayed light - we could say traditional - and suddenly were called rosé. Until the 1970s, the global wine market was small. Rosé was only consumed in France, so nobody noticed. Tourism and air travel made the world smaller though. 50 years ago, rosé production also started in the New World. The USA (10%), Italy (10%) and Spain (20%) are major rosé producer today.

Cassis is the last town we visit before finishing the trip tomorrow in Marseille. It is a quaint coastal town which served already the Greek merchants as refuge during times of Mistral as we just experienced. But it also has its own life. The castle overlooking the town gave it protection and allowed it to develop. Being French during the times of the Ottoman raids certainly helped. The town was sacked by Spanish Troops in 1524 but never by Corsairs.

Arrival in Cassis at 4 pm was spectacular - the whole harbour watched how we manoeuvred into our designated position - Captain Richard did it on first trial

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