It's not every day that you can discover you have a real family connection to a bottle of wine. Assas is a small village 10 kilometers north of Montpellier in Hérault, in southwestern France. The Château d'Assas is the manor house of the village, and the current house dates from the 18th century. Simone Demangel, who bought the house with her husband, Robert, in the 1930s, spent the last few years of World War II making false identity papers for Jewish people who needed to escape from southern France (including Tom's father and grandparents). Her daughter, Marie-Claire, now lives in the house, and told Tom stories of Simone riding her bicycle many kilometers at night to avoid detection and deliver the papers. After the war, she was decorated by General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny for her resistance work.
Marie-Claire and her sisters agreed to lease the name and image of the château to the local cooperative winery, which now produces a line of wines called Château d'Assas -- some from grapes grown on land that was part of the château in previous centuries. The cooperative produces a few different lines of wines with appellations of Pic St. Loup, Grès de Montpellier, AOC Languedoc, and IGP Pays d'OC. The co-op produces two reds, a white, and a rosé called Château d'Assas. This region where the grapes are grown is close enough to the Mediterranean to get some of the humidity and winds from the Mediterranean (and cooler nights as well), but far enough inland to experience the Tramontane winds (also known as the Mistral) that dry off the leaves of the vines, ensuring their health.
Château d’Assas Blanc is a white wine made from Roussanne, Marsanne, Vermentino, White Grenache, and Viognier, aged in steel. It sounds like the kitchen sink mix, but it’s typical of the Languedoc and the blending allows each grape to contribute what it does best. The wine has hints of honeysuckle and lilies on the nose, followed by tropical and citrus fruits, and a lush mouth-feel without any oak aging.
||AOP Languedoc White
||Les Vignerons du Pic, Assas (Languedoc)
Fish, poultry, asparagus, salads, mild cheeses