Topic of the Week 1/13/2019 - Introductory & Certified

Puns and and greywacke in our last post on Gimblett Gravels , , and . Thanks gents!

This week: Cassis or cassis?

What are the different possibilities in the beverage world when you order this? Name 1 producer of each.

  • If you order cassis in a hip wine bar, they'll probably offer you a white wine and it's probably going to be mostly Marsanne and Clairette. Officially it's a minimum 60% combined of those grapes, but Marsanne must be 30%-80% of that 60%. The rest is a kitchen sink combo of Bourboulenc,  Sauvignon Blanc, Pascal Blanc, Ugni Blanc, and a maximum 5% Terret Blanc. But this is certified, so don't worry about the Terret. Although whites dominate, reds are 70% minimum combined GMC; Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault. The remaining is Carignan, Barbaroux (a good pirate name) and a little Terret again, though this time noir, but you still shouldn't worry about it. All the wines are dry and most are white.

    Cassis AOC is one of the first AOC in france, granted in 1936 and surrounds the town of the same name along the rocky limestone coast just 10 miles southeast of Marseille. Vineyards lie on gentle to steep slopes up the valleys surrounded by "garrigue," the aromatic scrubland of herbs that prefer limestone and are within the Calanques park, which offers some protection from developers. Perhaps the most famous consumer of Cassis was Virginia Woolf, who wrote ,"To the Lighthouse," while smoking cigars and drinking on the grounds of Château de Fontcreuse, perhaps the most famous of the 12 producers in town, or alternatively you could, with a good running start and a high tide, go cliff diving from the vineyards of Clos Sainte Magdeleine. Careful though, the tallest coastal cliffs in France are in this town at 1,200 feet/400m. I'll let someone else take care of the other Cassis. 

  • The other cassis, crème de cassis, originates in Burgundy and is a sweet liqueur of between 15% and 20% alcohol made from cassis, or black currants. Most famously it's used in a kir cocktails, either mixed with champagne or aligote, but from a solid producer like Lejay, Giffard or the Oregon-based Clear Creek Distillery, it can be enjoyed over ice. 

  • My favorite cocktail use is the Flander's Planters Punch. Quality producer Vedrenne.

  • Ha! Not got the Simpsons reference?  Maybe I am getting old.

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