What makes Cognac so special? Julien Miquel, enologist and editor of the blog Social Vignerons, visited the Cognac region for the first time. While he was there, he had the impression of travelling through space and time.
“Cognac? You can appreciate its diversity, the distinctive characteristics of each terroir, the unique style of every house and artisan, and its multiple expressions, i.e. appreciate Cognac as a well-informed enthusiast. Of course, you can also taste it without being a connoisseur and still really enjoy it.
But I now believe that the spirit of Cognac is best felt in its region of origin. Whether you are an experienced Cognac lover or just discovering it, it is only by being among the vines, in the distilleries and the cellars that you can truly capture its enchanting singularity, which stirs up a unique feeling of travelling through space and time.
Space: a large wine region
I have worked in the world of wine for twenty years. That’s right, twenty years! I’m not going to lie, as an enologist, I tend to look for grapes wherever I go. This is probably why, during my visit to Cognac, I was struck by the imprint of the vines in the landscape. Having said that, it is difficult to escape them when they are right in front of your eyes! Yes, Cognac is a wine region and a large one at that, representing nearly 10% of French vineyards!
From afar, and even in France, we often tend to forget the importance of the Cognac wine region. And beyond that, the winegrowers. They nevertheless play an important role extracting aromas, which constitute the richness of Cognac, from the limestone soil. And it is their hard work that feeds the insatiable appetite of the pot stills…
I visited the Cognac region in November. The wine had just finished fermenting. The pot stills were being lit up in preparation for the long winter season when distillation takes place. The distillers were getting ready to work night and day to distil, drop by drop, the precious elixir from the region’s various terroirs including the Champagne, Borderies and three Bois appellations. Because it is the essence of the vineyard that flows from the pot still…
Time: solidarity over the years
In Cognac, I also encountered artisans who work as master blenders. I met them at the large Cognac houses but also at smaller, family-run estates. Wherever I went, the oak barrels took me back to another era. The chalk markings are like imaginary time machines: 1982, 1937, 1878…
Talking with producers led me to understand the essence of Cognac: time. Each bottle is a subtle blend of wine spirits of different ages. Each distillation, year after year, helps give the blender a sufficient choice of raw elements, which they combine to create a unique masterpiece. Each glass of Cognac represents an amalgamation of time flowing by…”
Discover a series of videos from Julien Miquel’s trip to Cognac