Trassegum, Occitan for "Love Potion."

Saturday, November 3, 2018 4:19 PM

Trassegum, Occitan for
Diane & Husband, Mathieu Outside TWH

Talk about an exciting week,

Halloween was a hoot and so was the next day. You know what November 1st is?  It's our Anniversary. This past Thursday TWH celebrated our 41st Anniversary! It's a long time to be in business and we have all of you to thank for it. As a way of saying thanks, we are currently putting the finishing touches on an Anniversary Sale to be unveiled shortly!  Stay tuned.

While sitting at my workstation putting the finishing touches on the November Dirty Dozen write-up, I heard Anya answer the phone. She put the party on hold, called David's attention, and told him, "Diane's on the line."  It was the way she said it.  Not dye-ANNE, like we say here in the states, but "dee-AHN" was how she pronounced it. I knew immediately who it was on the line. David couldn't quite make out what Anya had said over the din in the shop, but he got it eventually and picked up the line. Made me think of how cool it is to work here. Diane Puymorin has been one of our most well-respected winemakers for decades, churning out great wines vintage after vintage. It's been a long standing fact that her Les Cimels Rouge has been my go-to house red for over 10 years, and I'm not alone in my adoration of this wine. I've put many a bottle into satisfied customers' hands over this time, and I just thought it was cool that we bridge the gap between her vineyard, all the way in southern France, to you all, our customers in the good ole USA.

You may have heard the story. In 1998, Diane purchased a property once known as Domaine de la Petite Cassagne and re-named it Château d'Or et de Gueules, Occitan for "Gold and Red," the colors of her family crest. My favorite facet of this story has to be the fact that some of her advisors strongly advised Diane to rip her Carignan vines out, as the variety had a reputation for over-producing, resulting in uninteresting wines. She scoffed at this advice, citing the vines' age at over 60 years at the time. She said that the complexity derived from such a gift in the vineyard would enable her to make great wine. I'm a big fan of pragmatism in the face of peer pressure. I am also grateful, because a tiny bit of that Carignan makes its way into that Les Cimels Rouge, and that is perhaps the reason I love it so much.

Diane uses the fruit from her Carignan vines, now over 80 years old, in another blend known as Trassegum, Occitan for "Love Potion." You may remember Trassegum from the past, but probably not from any recent vintages. That's because a local French restaurant had pretty much swept up the past 3 vintages for their by the glass program. But just like a good comfortable sweatshirt, things have to be changed out every now and then. So when the 2015 Trassegum arrived, we were delighted to know that it's back on our shelves, and that we, the staff are able to purchase the wine for our own enjoyment.

Video Of Chateau With Drone Footage
Currently in stock is the 2015 vintage of Trassegum.  The blend is 50% Syrah, 25% old vine Mourvèdre (80+ years old), and 25% old vine Carignan. Production is a stingy 25 hl/ha. The wine is full-bodied, focused, and concentrated. The fruit is savory in character, more in the way of black olives than plummy fruit and/or berry notes. It's the perfect red for the season and a great wine to pair with the hearty fare we tend to enjoy once the nights grow long and a chill hits the air. It has a distinct forest floor aromatic, which is a byproduct of the old vine Carignan, and a hint of black tea-like tannin on the finish, two particular components I enjoy in red wines. It's not exactly priced at the Tuesday night, happy-go-lucky level, but for the quality one finds in bottle of Trassegumthis is a great value!

Another rite of passage, changing our clocks back to Standard Time, takes place this evening. It's 2018, so there's no need to remind anybody to physically do so, except for maybe on your microwave or inside your car. And being November, as written above, look out for that 41st Anniversary Sale coming soon. With Halloween in our rear view mirror, the most festive time of year lies straight ahead. There will be many opportunities to get together with friends and loved ones to feast and share some delicious wine. In the red department, the 2015 Château d'Or et de Gueules Trassegum will take care of those palates craving fuller-bodied, complex blends, while simultaneously saving you at the register. Special occasion wines tend to cost much more than $25, but we won't tell if you don't! - Peter Zavialoff
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And Now The Other Side – Divorce Wine

Thursday, August 21, 2008 4:04 PM

pclabel

Disclaimer:

If you have been reading our Sunday emails for the past year, you are surely aware of the multitude of wedding themed offers Ben has written. As someone currently going through divorce, I feel that in fairness, perhaps a tongue in cheek counterpoint is in order. I sought and received Ben’s okay on this concept before beginning. My intention with this write-up is to present a light-hearted poke at those emails.

 
You know, I have no problem hearing about love and marriage. It’s good when it’s good, great when it’s great. But my compatriot seems to be bordering on obsession with the subject. More so, I think, than most of the girls I went to high school with. I can see why. He’s a newlywed and has many friends who are in similar stages in their lives. That’s great. For them. Actually, it’s great for all of us, as the positive energy they radiate affects us all. Ah, but the fairy tales never mentioned the details of “ever after”.

When I read last Sunday’s email and saw that it was yet again about weddings, I rolled my eyes and said, “Oh no, not again”. Come on already! Imagine a surfer who has long aspired to ride the waves of Australia, making the trip, only to have accidentally got their leg stuck in the mouth of a great white shark while there. Would they take pleasure in reading about how great the surfing in Australia is shortly thereafter? I thought not. Sure, weddings are great occasions to break out a nice bottle of wine, right? But who ever speaks of wine to drink when going through a divorce? Let me be that guy! I’ll spare the banal details and focus on the positive (which really is the way to go when going through this).

For me, the positives are meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, andfreedom. Freedom of what? Freedom of almost everything. Almost everything. Spending is the one thing that needs micromanagement until this whole thing has been finalized. So I embrace all of the freedom I have, and as far as spending goes, I’ve got the red wine covered.

One of the great things about working here is getting a chance to taste many wines throughout their life. When the 2004 Petite Cassagne Rouge first arrived, it was a bit tight, tannic, and just needed a little time to open up. Now that is has some bottle age, that youthful kick in the pants has mellowed out and the wine is, in a word, lovely. The BEST thing about it, IT’S ON SALE FOR $6.95 PER BOTTLE. Yes, that’s right. Crafted by famed Costieres de Nimes producer, Diane Puymorin (you’ve probably heard that name before, and I say it’s okay to be obsessed by her and her wines), this wine is the all-purpose red that will get me to the end of the tunnel. It has complexity, purity, and is easy on ye olde pocketbook. That is why it is the only wine in the shop with a sign that says “Peter’s Pick” firmly attached to it!

Say what you will about love, marriage, and divorce; it is all interesting. And if Confucius were here, he’d consider that a blessing. I offer Ben’s friends my congratulations, they are a great couple, and long may they run. As for me, ever tapping into the resilience of the human soul, I am re-acquainting myself with single life, all the while smiling with my glass full of 2004 Petite Cassagne rouge!Peter Zavialoff

Tasting Notes:

It starts with the appearance. The deep, dark, purply color. The aromatics … dark fruit, berries, forest floor, black tea, and a little earth. On the palate, more of the same. Harmony between savory fruit, earth, herbs, tannins, and acidity. This wine has a complexity that can almost be described as a hint of bitterness. The fruit content is not sweet fruit, but savory fruit. That’s why I love this wine. Having had the occasional sip of Fernet Branca, I must say that I embrace this hint of bitterness. The finish shows a little spice to go along with that fruit and before you know it, darn, my glass is empty again. Ah, what to do, what to do? Did I mention it’s only $6.95???!!!

Feel free to email me with any comments regarding marriage, divorce, surfing in Australia, or inexpensive, high quality wine: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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Melons and Minerals

Monday, August 11, 2008 2:17 PM

I had a lovely wine Thursday night. It made sense for an email for at least three reasons.

1. It’s summer. It’s hot in most places. This wine is white. What’s more it’s a refreshing white. It is perfect for the next few months of warm weather. And it’ll be perfect for 12 months from now if you still have some left. Not that you can’t drink white wine in winter. I would never say something silly like that. Not that I would never say anything silly. I would never claim that, but this wine is perfect for summer. That is my only claim. For now.

2. It’s well priced. People seem to like value in their summer wines. This is a whole bunch of value.

3. I find it delicious. For a number of sub-reasons. It’s delicious in that if you put it in most anyone’s glass: your Chardonnay friend, your Muscadet friend, your martini friend, they all like it. That’s pretty cool, right? It’s also delicious in the “Man, I got a great deal,” way. There is nothing better than sitting with a glass and feeling happy about your wine-buying prowess. It just keeps getting even better with each sip when you’re thinking like that. Finally it’s delicious in “my way.” I love wines that exist in more than one dimension. It is easy to assume that everyday wines are simple because they don’t cost much, but luckily that’s not always the case. There are certain wines that offer more than just alcohol and fruit flavors, and those are the ones I am always looking for. This is a poster child. It has a mineral core that moves to and from the palate. The fruit is a clean, pure amalgamation of cantaloupe, honeydew, and some other melon that I have invented in my mind to match this taste profile. It is duality defined, and I can’t get enough of this kind of wine.

That’s where the melons and minerals title came from. Personally I love it when a wine achieves true minerality and charming fruit. You have Chablis and Muscadet which are undeniably stony and mineral. You have other wines that have delicious, ripe fruit. Rarely do you have both. Many times minerality comes at the expense of fully ripe fruit, or is it vice versa? Whichever, it makes for two camps of wine lovers. Those that love the dry smack of mineral and those who need lots of fruit (your Muscadet Friends and Chardonnay Friends, respectively.) And they don’t always get along with each other. But then one day the clouds part and a wine comes along that can bring these people together. Suddenly Zinfandel lovers are frolicking with Francophiles. Or not. The wine world may never find true peace and understanding, but this wine will at least bring a reprieve from the Old World snobbery and New World machismo. Until the bottle’s finished anyway. – Ben Jordan

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