Domaine des Aspras was established by husband and wife, Gottfried and Lisa Latz, immigrants from Germany by way of the Congo, in the early 1960's.They knew nothing of wine growing or wine producing, but they had the determination and entrepreneurial spirit of those who come with little and want to build a better life for their family. Today their descendants run this beautiful estate making impeccable Provençal wines. The land is farmed organically, as does the entire village of Correns, where Domaine des Aspras is located. Here the soils are clay-limestone which is ideal for grape cultivation. The Wine House has now been importing their wines for a couple of vintages. On our last container from France we received back in their entry-level red, À Lisa.
The À Lisa rouge is mostly Merlot, but my suspicion is that the 2016 has a good smattering of Syrah in it. What alerted my suspicion? It's the funk. Oh, yeah. It's got that funk. That funk is part of the À Lisa's charm. Looking for a densely fruited red, with soft tannins, but has earthy aromatics, perhaps a touch of animal? This one is for you!
I drank a bottle over three consecutive nights and found that quirky note of funk softens with aeration but never quite dissipates. The bottle I took home was a sample that David, Chris and I tasted earlier in the week. The wine washed a wave of nostalgia over us. We all remembered the southern French reds that were once imported by Robert Kacher that The Wine House loyally stocked. Remember Grand Cassagne or Chateau de Valcombe? Well, it's kinda like that, but even better.
Now that it's mid-January, life feels like I just stopped off one of those airport people movers. I have been so used to the frantic pace of the last couple months that stepping off set me a little off balance. I'll need to quickly right myself as there is much to do in this new year and much that I want to accomplish. But first things first, and that will be cooking up some one-pot braises to provide nourishment and comfort. À Lisa rouge will go beautifully with the types of rustic cooking I am imagining to prepare. À Lisa has the dense berry flavors I'm seeking, while its soft-structured tannins will compliment "fall off the bone" meat and that funk will give that farm-to-table allure. Bring out the dutch oven and grab yourself a bottle of À Lisa rouge. Cheers! - Anya Balistreri
Wow; how did it get to be July already??!! Having just endured most of what it takes to work through a Bordeaux En Primeurs campaign from the importer/retailer side, it’s easy to lose track of time.Just a reminder, we have plenty of 2015 Bordeaux futures available, please see our website or feel free to contact us should you have any questions about Bordeaux futures.Apart from that, with the long holiday weekend upon us,there’s plenty to do. Several customers have asked about my plans for the long weekend. I’m sticking around; as simple as that! Since I got back from Bordeaux, I’ve been crazy busy … oh yeah, somewhere in the middle of all that I moved too. This will be the first year in a long time that I won’t have the annual 4th of July parade pass my driveway, but I’m planning to catch a glimpse of it while hiking high above it! My plan for the 4th is to eat well, exercise, enjoy the company of some good friends, and share some nice wine. Some grilled steaks and boy-oh-boy, have I found the wine!
I was tasting through some samples the other day when I pulled the cork on a fairly new acquisition: the 2014 Domaine des Aspras Les Trois Frères Côtes de Provence. Domaine des Aspras? Oh yeah, they’re another new grower that David found while attending a tasting in Chicago many months ago. He liked the wines. They shipped some samples to us. We liked the wines. We bought the wines, and now they’re here!
The story is a soulful one. Driven from Germany in the 1930’s, Gottfried and Lisa Latz sought refuge in Congo until its independence suddenly sent them back to Europe in the early 1960’s, and to Domaine des Aspras. With no winemaking experience for either of them,Gottfried and Lisa’s passion, patience, and perserverence guided the way. In 1995, Gottfried and Lisa’s son, Michael, an agricultural engineer, began managing the property. Nowadays, Michael runs the property with his wife, Anne, and their three sons, Raphael, Sébastien, and Alexandre.
The property consists of 25 hectares of vines grown in clay-limestone soils. Surrounded by limestone hills, the region has enjoyed a reputation for producing excellent wine that goes back to the 13th century.The property gets its name from the Latin, asper-apera, or rough and rocky. The village of Correns sits in the middle of Provence, and since 1996, has been the first French vinous village in which all the farmers have chosen to farm organically. Their Les Trois Frères Rouge is a Syrah based blend with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.Les Trois Frères means the three brothers and is named for Raphael, Sébastien, and Alexandre. The three of them represent the third generation of Latz’s running Domaine Aspras, and they adhere to the family philosophy of caring for their land and making the best wines possible from their holdings in the Côtes de Provence.
The 2014 Les Trois Frères is an aromatic beauty. The first whiff reminded my of a Minervois we used to carry. Their wines were Syrah dominated blends and I used to love the savory aromas of forest floor and tobacco. This has a hint of that forest floor for sure, but the tangy red fruit pops out and there is a hint of orange bitters on the nose. There is oak influence both in the bouquet and on the palate, though it dissipates over time.The palate is medium bodied and very lively. I salivate thinking of the food that would go with this wine.The finish is fresh and balanced and that pleasant little pinch of bitterness (much like Diane Puymorin’s wines) caps it all off. This wine speaks of a place. It has a certain rusticity which I chalk up to terroir. The tannins are present, yet they’re fine and integrated. This is a great food wine, I’m going to need more than one bottle for the long weekend!
Yes, long weekend. It’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to some R & R. Whatever it is that you do, from all of us here at TWH, we wish you a safe, happy, and healthy Independence Day Weekend! – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about long weekends, Côtes de Provence wines, 2015 Bordeaux Futures, or European Football: peter@wineSF.com