An Ancient Traditional Aperitif
The Troussépinète has its origin 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 mostly consumed flavored. 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 were a lot of blackthorn bushes and the winegrowers and distillers started to use it to make troussépinète wines. The French word for “blackthorn bush” is “épinète,” which we find in the name troussépinète.
The Lise Baccara Troussépinète was created by Gerard Pagnon, a small wine grower and liquoriste from the Cognac area. There are a few different ways to make troussépinète 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.
The red Troussépinète displays intense cherry flavors, red grapes and pitted plum with a dry tart finish.
Both versions can be enjoyed as an aperitif with prosciutto ham, melon, blue cheese, or as dessert wine with any chocolate based cake, or in many cocktails.
96 Points "Extraordinary / Ultimate Recommendation" - Chairman's Trophy and top prize for an aperitif
Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2012
"This “red dessert wine” from the Cognac region offers rich, compote-like aromas and a bold, fruity palate that shows raspberry jam, juicy cherry pie filling and a hint of vanilla finishing with a mouthwatering plum skin pucker on the exit."
Wine Enthusiast 2018