In 2017, in response to a growing interest from all of you into smaller production and traditionally-styled Cognac, we selected a rare single cask from the Grande Champagne region. The response from customers when that barrel arrived was phenomenal, and before we knew it we had customers buying bottles for themselves and for friends and loved ones all across the U. S.
Given the response of our first release I knew that we needed to follow up with another single cask, and in June of 2018 I travelled directly to the source to meet with Jerome Tessendier, owner of Park Cognac, to seek out a barrel of the very best for Vine & Table’s ever growing group of Cognac customers. Jerome, along with his brother Lilian, have been distilling and blending grape brandy in the town of Cognac for decades, carrying on a long family tradition since the company was created in 1880. The brothers have honed their skills over the years and are well-known in the region for their meticulous attention to detail in the vineyards and their delicate hand in the blending process, creating a style of Cognac known for its light fruit and floral undertones. I had a glimpse of this level of detail firsthand as I walked through the vineyards with Jerome, the long rows of vines spread out before us. As we talked he would periodically stop to look at the foliage of individual plantings, take photos and make notes on his phone so that action could be taken once he got back to his office.
Back at the distillery, we went on the hunt for a standout cask deep within their extensive cellars of aging stock in the hopes of finding another spectacular cask to come home to Vine & Table. It was in here that I felt that Jerome was most at home; he knew the location of every barrel and how the contents of each individual cask would be at that point in time. With six different appellations to choose from and each appellation consisting of hundreds of casks at different ages of maturity, the selection process could have been absolutely exhausting were it not for the knowledgeable cask master at my side. We tasted many beautiful samples that day but there was one that stood out above all else and that was cask no. 9494, made entirely of fruit from the Fins Bois region, an area known for producing floral and juicy brandies. The fruit of the vines were harvested in late 2007, after which the grapes were fermented into a dry white wine with distillation happening many months later in the spring of 2008. Our barrel was filled and rolled into the dark and humid warehouses that overlook until the Cognac was liberated from the cask in August 2018.
Coming in at just 43.5% ABV this is an astonishingly good Cognac if I do say so myself. It is absolutely dripping with notes of newly picked white flowers and freshly pressed sweet white grapes, juicy pears and honeycrisp apples. And when the brandy hits the tongue, a sublime wave of luscious and delicate fruits (think sweet prunes and raisins) coats the palate and stays there not wanting to leave, creating an incredibly long finish that just lingers, the juiciness of the fruits not wanting to say goodbye. And with only 198 bottles born from the barrel, and a very reasonable price of $74.99, this beauty will not be around forever!
Denis Lynch, Vine & Table Spirits Buyer