Why Assemblage is Better than Blending In

(Ryan O'Connell) #1

When a wine is composed of multiple varietals (types of grapes) we usually refer to it as a blend, while the French refer to this mix as an assemblage. There’s an interesting difference in connotation that might help you develop relationships with your new community when you come to France.

You see, making friends in a new place isn’t about blending in. Blending sort of implies a homogeneity. I think that expats who come to France and try to “act French” end up looking ridiculous and alienating more people than they befriend.

Assemblage, that has a different connotation. The varietals work together. They’ve been assembled, but one isn’t necessarily dissolved into the other. It’s about using the unique qualities of both grapes to arrive at a new and different wine.

So don’t be scared to be different. But make sure you use your differences to help those around you. Once people realize that your weird eccentricities can be a benefit to them. Even the most diehard isolationists will open up once they see what’s in it for them.

Something to think about! Don’t blend in. Assemble.

Ryan O’Connell, host of Love That Languedoc and winemaker at Domaine O’Vineyards.

(James Higginson) #2

Sounds good Ryan, I’ll keep an eye out for anything stirring down there.


(Ryan O'Connell) #3

If groups start meeting up in the Languedoc, I want in! I’ll bring the wine. :slight_smile:

(Chris George) #4

James was talking on his newsletter about groups who live near to each other meeting up. If Karina lives near me and does the catering/entertainment, you can count me in. My wife doesn’t understand the unique pleasure of jelly but then she dips buttered toast into her coffee. Sometimes cultures clash and there’s nothing you can do about it.

(Ryan O'Connell) #5

No prob, Catharine. Thanks for reading!

Peter and Karina, I’m glad your experience mimicks mine. PS- I have no idea what half of those birthday party events are, but I STILL wish I had been there. :smiley:

(Karina Driscoll) #6

Hi Ryan,
We have many French friends here, who are very dear to us and we so enjoy being part of our community. " I am, what I am " … is my take on life. I loved the way you compered the process to wine… How true…
Peter has said about English food, they love it ! especially Yorkshire pudding with roast beef ( which I do serve very rare !! )
I have also introduced our friends to both Thai and Indian curry, also Chinese food ( home cooked, not supermarket sauces etc ) They love it…
Another point was our daughters Birthday Party, 2 years ago I had 28 children. I did the traditional English childrens party, Pass the parcel, musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey, etc. I served little sarnies, sausage rolls, sausages on sticks, cheese and pineapple on sticks, fairy cakes, jelly and icecream etc. I ended the party with a treasure hunt around Roquecor, hoping to wear them out… They are still all talking about it now… Never had they experienced anything like it… My daughter has asked for another one this year…
Also the parents enjoyed the " aperatif " when they came to collect them…

(Catharine Higginson) #7

Yes, this is a great post - apologies for not having commented sooner!


Nicely put!
You would be totally amazed at how many of our French friends now enjoy good old English Cuisine! When we have French guests, although Karina is a capable cook, we nearly always prepare food that is 100% NOT French. This very simple tactic does what you suggest in that it diversifies local tastes, we add to the local culture. A prime example of this is how Indian cuisine has altered British eating habits.
On the other hand I would never dream of wearing a “Chapeau Melon” to a “Boules” night, but not a “beret” either!
The only complete disaster I have had so far is trying to teach the French to play Cricket…Strange as France actually holds the Olympic silver medal for cricket!!