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