The sons and nephews of two brothers who founded the estate, Yann and Gabriel Moine inherited not only forty hectares of vines north of Cognac, but also the desire to share their family’s expertise. Established in 1990, the emblematic Circuit du Chêne wine tourism initiative is now part of the Explore Cognac community. Wine writer Romy Ducoulombier met Yann Moine for the occasion.
The brothers share their estate responsibilities fairly equally. Gabriel is in charge of vineyard management and distillation while Yann is responsible for winemaking and blending. Yann also manages the hospitality side of things, with the estate standing as a pioneer in the Cognac wine region.
“It’s in my family’s DNA”, highlights Yann. “My brother and I were raised with this in mind. The ‘Circuit du Chêne’ was founded by my father and uncle in the 1990s, in a bid to make the invisible visible.”
The tour, which lasts at least 2 hours and 30 minutes, is divided into three main parts. The first part takes visitors to the Tonnellerie artisanale des Pépinières, an artisanal cooperage located between Cognac and Jarnac. The coopers tell them about the types of oak used and give a demonstration of the barrel-making process, explaining how the barrels will later protect the ageing wine spirits in the tranquility of the cellars.
Visitors then return to Gabriel and Yann’s estate for a presentation of the pot stills in action, including the famous principle of Charentais double distillation, which produces wine spirits with a dazzlingly pure expression.
The program ends with a tour of the ageing cellars. Reminding his guests of their visit to the cooperage, Yann unveils the barrels where the wine spirits are aged, sometimes for several decades. Visitors also learn about the key role the cellarmaster plays in blending wine spirits.
“There are no guest speakers. The winegrower does all the talking!”, insists Yann Moine, who has led tours since he was sixteen. The tour also won a gold medal in the “Creative Initiatives – Originality” category at the Wine Tourism Trophies, organized by Terre de Vins magazine and the French tourism agency, Atout France.
A versatile winegrower
Winegrower, master blender and plastic artist. A.K.A “Mr Frog”, Yann is also a multidiscliplinary artist who combines fabric sculpture with music and photography to design installations set in both natural and urban environments. He fully embraces this mix of genres.
“In 2010, my partner, who is a graphic designer, and I decided to create an exhibition and artistic center above the distillery, known as the Preswar . We wanted to bring art to the countryside and for artists to mingle with winegrowers, in order to combine these two universes.” Until 2019, when Yann decided to reconnect with his love of painting, the estate was often home to artist residencies and shows.
The estate still bears visible traces from this period, including a giant wall fresco designed by stencil artists using chalk bombs and Torula compniacensis, a microscopic fungus that feeds on alcohol vapors generated from the evaporation of wine spirits in the cellar, also known as “the angels’ share”. But above all, it retains a great energy, which constantly bubbles beneath the surface. Driven by this impetus, new tours are also in the pipeline…
Les Frères Moine
1 rue de la Boucle 16200 Chassors
+33 (0)5 45 80 98 91 – moinefreres.fr