Heavenly Spirits of Lakeville, MA is pleased to announce that the top two winners of this year’s Ultimate Spirit award for an aperitif is La Troussepinette Red, and La Troussepinette White by Lise Baccara. The Red version of La Troussepinette earned the highest score and the Chairman’s Trophy with 96 points, followed closely by La Troussepinette White, which earned an impressive 95 points to place second.
An ancient traditional aperitif, La Troussépinète has its origins in the Vendée, a coastal region north of Cognac. It is believed that it was made clandestinely by the unofficial distillers of the Vendée who were not granted the right to distill by the French authorities.
Since ancient times, we know that wines of mediocre quality were flavored before being consumed most of the time. The upper classes were able to flavor their wines with expensive imported spices and plants such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves or rose petals. The people with less means had to use their imagination and find other local ingredients.
In the Vendée, a lot of farmers had small vineyards but the wines produced were only ordinary in quality. However, there was a lot of blackthorn bushes and the winegrowers and distillers started to use it to make troussépinètte wines. The French word for “blackthorn bush” is “épinète,” which we find in the name troussépinètte.
The Lise Baccara Troussépinètte was created by Gerard Pagnon, a small wine grower and liquoriste from the Cognac area. There are a few different ways to make troussépinètte but Gerard uses the original ancient recipe. Young blackthorn shoots are harvested in the spring, then sliced up and allowed to macerate in low alcohol cognac for 1 to 2 months to release the sap.
Wine (red or white) is added, as well as some sugar and the blend is adjusted to a final content of 17%, then filtered and bottled.
Note: the scientific name for the blackthorn bush is prunus spinosa which produces the popular sloe berries; but berries are not used to produce
troussépinète, only the spring shoots full of sap and almond like flavors.
We are doing our best to introduce this wonderful product to all of our distributors as fast as we can. If you don't yet have it available in your State, you can order it on-line from one of our recommended on-line retailers.