On a clear day, from the highest point of the vineyard, you can see the old fortified Cathar city of Carcassonne. It is a dramatic vista, to say the least - incorporating the world-famous, ancient Roman fortress on the Aude river. This is the view from Chateau de Brau, a farmstead near the village of Villemoustaussou, and one that has been appreciated by Gabriel Tari since boyhood.

It was 1965 when Gabriel's parents set up their home at Brau, part of the 1 million person repatriation of the Pieds Noirs--the black feet French that returned from Algeria following their independence war. This was an unimaginably difficult time for these people--ostracized by the French (even though they all had French ancestry), and unwanted by the Algerians (although many families had been there for generations). This deep and somewhat lonely part of France, in the shadow of the Montagne Noire, was a peaceful place to re-establish a landholding and a family.

Gabriel's father began farming grapes, and sold his crop to a local negociant or cooperative. To please his father, even though the land was calling him to be a farmer, Gabriel moved to Montpellier to study law. Then, during a summer workaway program in Italy he met Wenny Slagmuylder. A Franco-Belgian romance began, and continues to this day.

It was Wenny that ultimately convinced Gabriel to go back to his father and ask if SHE might run the vineyard. He did. And they did. In the mid-80's she enrolled in a winemaking course in Carcassonne, earned her diploma, and in 1988 the Chateau de Brau bottled its first wine. Wenny was never going to be satisfied being just some winemaker's wife.

Their history is an extraordinary and circuitous junction. I love thinking about all the pieces of their puzzle that fell into place just so.

Today, Wenny and Gabriel are in it together. Chateau de Brau has grown to 40 hectares, which sounds big, until you realize they have over 20 different grape varieties planted among 60-something different parcels. And it is this diversity that gave birth to Wenny and Gabriel again doing something extraordinary--bottling a range of single-variety wines. It's an idea that was, and still is, unheard of in this part of France, where the local AOC Cabardes, by law, must be a field blend.

This diverse lineup is called PURE (many of you know it well already) and on the surface it is an appropriate name for a mono-cepage wine. But I wonder now if the Tari's life story might actually have been the impetous for the brand.

It's a PURE story.

I have a selection of six PURE wines in the store and ready to go. And with this offer you'll get one of each for just $84, or a slightly better $81 if you Double Down to make a Solid Case.

Chateau de Brau PURE 6-pack

You'll get one of each of the following: (Wenny's notes, which are also printed on each label)

  • 2015 Cabernet Franc--Ripe black fruit with a minty edge
  • 2015 Syrah--Violet-scented, spicy and intense
  • 2014 Fer Servadou--Floral, smooth and complex
  • 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon--Intense blackcurrant fruit, complex and full-bodied
  • 2014 Egiodola--Plum-scented, fleshy and well-structured
  • 2014 Petit Verdot--Peppery and floral, refined and complex

Regularly priced at $102 these are already a great deal. But altogether at $14 or under, all the better! To order please simply reply here, or click the product link above to read more and order online.



PS--I'm considering something that I think could be pretty fun and interesting this summer. If stories like the one above get your curated travel juices flowing, and you'd like to meet people like Wenny and Gabriel, then what about this...?

For a week in July I think it would be cool and unique to rent a van and drive maybe 6-7 of you around for a week, all of us acting like importers together. We'd visit 2-3 wineries a day (some I already work with, and some I'd be prospecting), concentrate on one geographic region (reasonably speaking), and finish each day with a great meal at some of my favorite spots I've fallen in love with over the years.

It would be an active, kilometers-sucking "deep dive", and hopefully provide an insider's look into the wine world that you couldn't get from a guidebook or Travelocity.

I'm going to do it anyway, but I'm wondering if anyone would care to join me? My best guess for cost would be about $500/day, and I'll do all the planning for you. For your part, you just need to get here.

Reply here if you're interested, and then I'll write you back with some fleshier details!

CorksCru Wine Merchants
339 NW Broadway Ave.
Portland, OR 97209
T: (503) 226-9463

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