Newly Arrived: 2013 Rose From Petite Cassagne

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 12:04 AM

Why TWH moved to a new location at 829 26th Street at the edge of the historic Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco might be a question many of you have entertained and one that can be answered many ways. One answer is that we needed more space to warehouse our imported wines. As Pete likes to explain and I will paraphrase here, we want new vintages of French Rose as soon as possible and not in the middle of summer. Typically Rose is bottled in March, so given the normal timeframe of shipping logistics, we can expect new vintages of Rose to arrive in SF at the earliest by mid/late April. Too often at the old spot, we’d have to wait so that we can make room for a new container. But here at the new spot, voila, it has arrived fresh, fresh, fresh in April with room to spare in the warehouse. I wasted no time, buying a bottle of the 2013 Rose from Domaine de la Petite Cassagne to enjoy at Easter, and will now attempt to make a strong argument as to why you should want this Rose over any other.


The 2013 Rose from Domaine de la Petite Cassagne has a baby pink hue so pretty, so translucent, you can’t help but gravitate to the bottle. Made from direct press juice, mainly Cinsault, this Rose has that delicate, subtle appearance that signifies elegance, subtlety, and freshness. The aromas are pervasive but not heady. The strawberry scents are like those that greet you when you pass by a vendor at the Farmers market selling just picked berries; it is a vivid, memory-inducing aroma. On the palate the strawberry theme continues but stops short of excessive fruitiness by the perfectly matched acidity and dryness level. It is not an out of the ordinary Rose, unlike anything you’ve ever tried before, but it is precisely what you want from a $11.49 bottle of Rose from Southern France. Now let’s imagine for a moment that you had the good fortune of summering along the Mediterranean coast and were at an outdoor bistro ordering a glass of Rose. If the restaurant served you a glass of the 2013 Rose from Domaine de la Petite Cassagne, first you would think to yourself why don’t I drink more Rose and second you would begin to wonder whether you could purchase anything like it back in the States. The good news is yes you can and we have it here at TWH!


At Easter, my elder brother, who resides in Sonoma County and grows wine grapes as a hobby, asked me to try a Rose that a friend had made. He asked me to honestly critique the wine so that he could report back to his friend. After staying up the night before until 4:30 in the morning-having gone to midnight mass and then breaking the lenten fast afterwards – I wasn’t exactly in the mood for playing the role of the wine expert, but I tasted it anyway and found it to be sound. My biggest objection to it was the heat on the finish and its sense of heaviness on the palate. I could see that my brother was not clear by what I meant, so the next day as we continued our Easter celebration at my other brother’s house for a day-long bbq feast, I poured a glass of the 2013 Rose from Domaine de la Petite Cassagne and instructed my brother to try it. “You see how light and fresh it is?” I told him. And I went on to say, “we sell it at the store for $11.49 per bottle, and even less by the case!” Now he understood, so much so he asked me to set a few bottles aside for him.



One of the highlights at the bbq feast for me was a slow-cooked, fall-apart-tender pork butt that was served on sweet Hawaiian rolls with sliced cucumbers, pineapple, red onion and cilantro with Siracha and Hoisin sauce. It was an amazingly delicous pairing with the Petite Cassagne Rose. Truly. Red wine would have been too heavy and a white wine wouldn’t have had enough fruity oomph, proving to me once again how versatile and complimentary Rose is with foods that impart heat or spiciness.


Winemaker Diane de Puymorin has perfected making Rose that combines real value with sophistication (actually this is true for all her wines). The 2013 Rose from Petite Cassagne is simply hard to beat especially when you factor in the price. At $11.49 per bottle ($9.77 when ordered by the case), you can afford to incorporate a taste of the Mediterranean life into your daily diet. Anya Balistreri

2012 Petite Cassagne Costieres de Nimes Rose

Monday, September 9, 2013 11:11 PM


Hoping you all had a great Labor Day weekend … as my colleague, Anya pointed out last week, Labor Day is often seen as a symbolic end to summer, yet officially, the season lasts another 2-3 weeks. And here in the Bay Area, it lasts well into October and beyond. I usually manage to keep pretty cool throughout these times, as hot weather is not exactly my fancy. Well, not this year. It all started with a trip to Sacramento in mid-August. When I returned via Vallejo and saw that it was ONLY 80 degrees Fahrenheit, I rejoiced. I think that’s the first time I’ve rejoiced to see 80F. During the first week of BirthdayFest (Aug 24-31), I found myself in Los Angeles, and forget about staying cool there. It’s been nothing but hot here ever since, and I must say I’m dealing with it fairly well. How exactly? Well one remedy is Rosé. In particular, the 2012 Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Costières de Nîmes Rosé!



The concept of drinking a nice crisp Rosé on a hot day is neither new nor original. It does appear to be natural and logical, though. I sure caught the bug when it was first introduced to me. Served chilled, it’s crisp, complex, aromatic, low in alcohol, versatile, and refreshing. Oh yeah, then there’s the price to factor in. It’s a win-win-win, if you ask me.


I have really enjoyed Diane Puymorin’s Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Costières de Nîmes Rosé in recent vintages. The color is pale peach, the wines are clean and complex, and there seems to be a degree of salinity that joins forces with a dusty mineral backbone. I was such a fan of last year’s version, that I eventually depleted 2 cases over the course of the summer and fall. The 2012 landed here back in May, and before I could blink, it was all gone. Hmmm, I barely remember tasting it. Good news! A new container recently arrived from France, and on it was a pallet of 2012 Petite Cassagne Rosé. Ah yes. It has me based on color alone. Well, color and the memory of vintages past. Upon the very first whiff, I got subtle clean fruit, white melons, then a hint of something citrusy, maybe tangerine. Repeated aromatic observations coaxed out more melon-like fruit and definitely the citrus, but there were red berries and a dusty mineral underpinning. The palate is clean and complex. There are a wide variety of taste sensations on the palate, including that hint of salinity which gives your mouth a pleasant pinch. The finish clean, the bottle empty. Oh well, it’s only 12.5% alcohol … and with the case discount, it’s less than 10 bucks a bottle! 



So yeah, Rosé to beat the heat. That’s a natural thing. Why? It works, it really works. Speaking of things that work, BirthdayFest got off to a rolling start this year. So much good company, good food, good music, and good wine. Very Grateful.


Going forward, Labor Day is behind us and PeakWeek of the Fest is winding down. One week to go, and as far as I can see, it’s going to remain hot for a while. I’m not jinxing the weather (oh, but I’m trying), so with this heat, I choose the 2012 Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Costières de Nîmes Rosé to take to battle! Enjoy the end of summer! – Peter Zavialoff


Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or advice on how to beat the heat or about Rosé: 

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