You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Sunday 5 July 2015

Small Cognac growers taking wine approach

1st August, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

A single vintage approach is helping small Cognac producers to stand out from the might of the “big four”: Courvoisier, Rémy Martin, Martell and Hennessy.

Olivier Blanc of Leopold Gourmel takes a wine approach with his single vintage Cognacs

Olivier Blanc, co-founder of small organic producer Leopold Gourmel, only produces single vintage Cognac in order to highlight vintage variation.

“The ‘big four’ houses account for 83% of total Cognac sales, so the small guys have to stand out to be heard. I don’t blend my eaux de vie, which is unusual. I take more of a wine approach,” he told the drinks business.

For the base wine, Blanc uses grapes from the chalky soils of Grande Champagne, chosen for the minerality they impart into the final spirit.

“Minerality is key to producing good Cognac – it pushes the spirit to evolve.

“It comes from the soil. It’s not a flavour as such, more of an energy force. It’s hard to describe but you can always tell when it’s present,” he told db.

Rather than sticking to a rigid distillation process, Blanc believes it is better for small producers to adapt their approach to the particular conditions of each vintage.

“In any given year, I can be very happy with the base wine and very disappointed with the final spirit, or vice versa,” he said.

Rather than using the traditional VS, VSOP and XO age descriptors; Blanc uses the terms “Fruit”, “Flower” and “Spice”, corresponding to 10, 15 and 20-year-old Cognac respectively.

As Champagne house Dom Pérignon does with its Oenothèque series, Blanc keeps a considerable amount of Cognac from each year back in order to re-release the eaux de vie in a higher age category at a later date.

“My commitment to my consumers is to give them a significant difference in terms of aroma and flavour between the “Fruit”, “Flower” and “Spice” classifications.

“I want to talk to a younger generation and take Cognac away from fireplaces,” Blanc said.

Leopold Gourmel is distributed in the UK through Liberty Wines and is on sale in restaurants such as The Fat Duck in Bray and Le Gavroche in London.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

UK vineyards included in tax relief scheme

Winemakers in the UK will be able to benefit from income tax changes for the more...

Louis Latour Agencies signs Gosset

Louis Latour Agencies marked its 25th anniversary last night with the more...

Top 10 wines in the UK press

An English fizz fit for Wimbledon, a "chunky, berry-stuffed" Negroamaro and a more...

Supplier Relationship Manager

London, United Kingdom

Asda warns suppliers of Champagne scam

Asda is warning suppliers to be on guard after several companies received more...

Beaujolais pushes for sparkling AOC

Beaujolais is trying to gain AOC status for its sparkling wines which, with it more...

Bar launches festival-themed cocktail list

Matt Whiley, the liquid alchemist in charge of Peg + Patriot, the bar at the more...

Digital and Communications Executive

£22,000-£26,000 dependent on experience

Final call for Liberty apprentice scheme

Liberty Wines is inviting final applications for its apprentice programme, more...

Pimm's and English wine sales leap

UK supermarket Waitrose has noted a surge in sales for Pimm's, strawberries and more...

Oddbins woos Naked staff with love letters

Oddbins has allegedly been sending love letters and bottles of wine to key more...

London Sales Manager / Key Account Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive - depending on skills and experience

The Tour de l'Oc in pictures

A pictorial report of the highs and lows of the Tour de l'Oc cycling challenge more...

William Grant in World Cup deal

William Grant & Sons has been awarded exclusive spirits and champagne pouring more...

US wine brand hopes to ape craft beer success

A wine brand from California is hoping to ape craft beer’s success in the UK more...

Social Media Editor

Competitive

English fizz attracts new deal

English sparkling wine producer Jenkyn Place has stepped up its ambitions by more...

Oregon producer takes international view

One of Oregon’s youngest wine estates has partnered with Jackson Family Wines more...

Sud de France launches Wine Hub

An "innovative" tool designed to support wine producers and importers operating more...

PR Manager

Competitive

Lidl hints at plans for online wine shop

UK supermarket Lidl has not ruled out launching an online wine shop, reporting more...

Champagne needs to 'create a new occasion'

Champagne needs to "create a new occasion" and better communicate its brand if more...

Vinadeis unveils Languedoc 'black diamonds'

One of France’s largest wine producers has launched a high-end Languedoc more...

Marketing and eCommerce Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive, includes equity options

Wimbledon serves up English wine

Organisers of this year’s Wimbledon have decided to offer tennis fans English more...

Pub landlord kills customer with ironing board

A pub landlord has been found guilty of killing a wealthy American customer by more...