Winemaker Spotlight: An Interview with Henry and Corinne d’Assay from Comte Henry
- What inspired you to create your collection of wines? It is a long story. Henry worked in the family business for 30 years, a family estate in Pouilly Fumé. After his mother’s death, he had to leave. Then we decided to pursue his old dream- build a trade around the sauvignon grape which offers such a variety of tastes and wine according to soil, region and climate
- Are there other winemakers you look up to and why? This is a difficult question! There are so many of them who do a magnificent job : Drappier in Champagne, Chateau-Minuty in Provence, Fezas in Côtes de Gascogne, and others. Each with his own personality, all of them with a personal care and a keen eye on the vine and the cellar.
- What’s your favorite recipe and do you have a favorite wine to pair it with? Sabayon au Pouilly Fumé with a dry grilled maize wafer and a glass of Pouilly Fumé, of course
- Someone very special is coming over for dinner- which wine do you serve? A special welcoming with Touraine, saucisson and /or smoked fish or oysters, Pike and Pouilly Fumé . Veal after my grandmother’s recipe, in white sauce (small onions, 2 glasses of Pouilly Fumé, thinned carrots, a touch of crême fraîche) cooked at a very low temperature in some thick pot with a tight lid. A Salad of the season. Cheese : a variety of Burgundy and Auvergne cheese with some of our special Pouilly Fumé or red wine (burgundy or south west) Finishing with the sabayon described above.
- What’s your favorite place you’ve travelled to? Henry loved the US : he went to New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Charleston, Florida, Atlanta, and other places. I [Corinne] like England very much, but have never been to the States. We have a special liking for Austria: its landscape, its people and its cooking.
- If you had any advice for someone who wanted to create wine what would you tell them? If we do not talk money: first, never copy anyone. In the first place, there is no copying in wine. Second, there are so many varieties of grape. Create your style and adapt to your place.
- What did you want to be when you were a kid? Henry would have been some kind of poet. Actually this is what he was when he was a vintner as well as now, making his dreams and poems come true
- Any holiday traditions you love? Christmas!
- If you weren’t in the wine industry, what would you do as your career? I still wonder
- What do you like to do for fun when you aren’t working? Long walks in the forests nearby, watching the seasonal change of trees, smelling whiffs of wild plants and animals, sometimes even catching a glimpse of a hare or a boar.
Holiday Gift Guide
The holidays are a great time to pop open the bubbly and celebrate family, friends, holidays, and the end of the year. Here are our top picks this holiday season: 1. Belle Jardin– This lively sparkling wine displays a fine texture and bead with a lingering clean finish. 2. de Pro Cava Brut– This refined Cava has citrus aromas with notes of brioche, pear and almond. Fine and elegant. Initially soft on the palate with clear pear and lemon flavors and fresh acidity. Creamy mousse with fine bubbles. 3. Carmina Prosecco – Balanced and smooth, this Prosecco has an intense fruit fragrance of peach, pear, green apple and a sensation of citrus fruit that fades into floral with notes of wisteria and acacia.
These red wines are great for gifting or to share during the holidays: 1. Ridgeback Cabernet Franc– This Cab Franc from South Africa notes upfront blackcurrant with hints of green peppercorn and black olive cradled by elegant, ripe tannin and oak spice on the long mineral finish. 2. Trombetta Pinot Noir “Gaps Crown“- A beautifully structured pinot noir with notes of dark ripe blue and black fruit with fresh plum, violet, cooking spice and lush pomegranate. 3. 3 Pillars Cabernet Sauvignon– On the palate, the wine is transcendent, rich and complex, with dense flavors of black plums, spices, and vanilla bean.
We recommend these delightful options for the white white lover in your life. 1. Vinovator Mish Mash White– Bright and refreshing, this white from Australia has notes of citrus and spice. It is tangy with minerality in texture. 2. Comte Henry d’Assay Pouilly Fume- An intense palate with notes of yellow fruit notes, citrus stone dust, vibrant acidity, and a lingering finish. 3. Font du Loup Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc – Elegant and fresh with an abundance of white flowers, citrus, and honey.
These two fantastic wines were included in the Washington Post’s Best Wines of 2021. On the left we have our Omrah Pinot Noir from Australia is fresh and youthful on the palate with with a fleshy core of dense red fruit and sour cherry. Supple tannins and hints of toasty oak and fresh crunchy acidity on the finish. Showing great regional character with depth of flavour and varietal definition. On the right is the lovely Independent Tempranillo. An organic Tempranillo that is full bodied and with an excellent balance between the tannic and acidic sensations.
In the Press
Our Mencia is back in the press! The Washington Post recently featured this delectable red wine and recommended it for serving this holiday season. This medium bodied red is made with 100% Mencia grapes; the only grapes able to thrive in this special region. Mencia offers a unique fruit-laden and balanced wine with with its own mineral character.
We wanted to thank you all for your continued business through 2021. As the world continues to try and get back to a new normal, we are so grateful for your support, partnership, and the unique relationships we’ve built together. From all of us at Artisans & Vines we wish you a safe and happy holiday as well as a happy new year! Cheers!