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Rebeca Pinhas

Rebeca Pinhas

Writer/Escritora 

Out & About

@vinomonnola

Costa Rica

France Beyond Wine

Para español clic: Francia : Más allá de su vino

By Rebeca Pinhas

While I’m usually dabbling in the world of wine, I can’t help but to have spirits in my mind as Tales of the Cocktail -a festival that focuses on such industry- recently took place in our city. So I deemed it adequate to make a little note on the subject. 

A few months ago, I had the chance and fortune of spending some time with Antoine Robert, the Export Manager for Distilleries et Domaines (DeD) de Provence, a French distillery in a region most known -to our market anyway- for its wine. 

Although I’ve tried to avoid learning too much about distilled spirits (the last thing I need is another boozy topic to obsess about), I can’t deny it’s a fascinating world. Just a few days with Antoine were enlightening. 

 

 

DeD de Provence is a family-owned and run business that has expanded quickly and now exports its products to almost eighty countries. While Antoine previously had different jobs, he always knew working in the family business was his inevitable fate, a fate surrounded by passion. 

 

With various countries to oversee, Antoine points out the positive side of working in the family business. “Working in the spirits industry is already very exciting, but it adds extra soul to the family business. Our distillery, products, region, and know-how… are a big part of my family”. Antoine thinks offering products that reflect this passion is the best way to remain authentic. Though working in the family business encourages self-improvement and growth, he also admits it may be challenging not to let work-related issues affect his life. 

 

I knew the next question was tricky, but I couldn’t help asking what his favorite spirits were. “Two of our spirits are clearly my favorite: Rinquinquin (a peach fortified wine, made from the maceration of peaches and peach leaves in white wine) and Farigoule (thyme liqueur made from the maceration and distillation of wild thyme).” His choice of cocktails was clear: The Mediterranean (Rinquinquin, Pastis Henri Bardouin, Lemon juice, almond syrup) and The Provençal Sour (Farigoule, Gin XII, Lime juice, Simple syrup, soda water).   

 

If you are a cocktail enthusiast, you might have noticed the last few years have brought innovation with unique spirits, all-natural ingredients, and unimaginable combinations. One of the newest tendencies is low-alcohol cocktails. Antoine agrees this worldwide trend “allows you to taste the ingredients used without an overpowering taste of alcohol.” He then reminds me low alcohol cocktails are a fantastic start to a wine-lead meal. Now we are talking, Antoine!   

I asked how we could increase awareness of French spirits -rather than only wine- in the North American market. “By writing articles about it like you do right now. French producers also have to adapt more to the consumption outside of France and especially to the cocktail industry, which is big in North America but not yet in France, outside of the big cities”. 

 

Besides his native language French, Antoine is fluent in English and Spanish. The latter has come in handy when visiting most Latin American countries for work and vacation. He loves this part of the world and points out that Latin America invented or inspired many famous cocktails.

“It’s an excellent area for “spirit lovers’ like me,” he says, adding that he can taste Rum, Cachaça, and Pisco, amongst others. 

 

Antoine is working on an innovative coffee product “in a category where it doesn’t exist yet” that he isn’t ready to reveal, so we must be on the lookout!

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