It takes an intricate and decades-long course of to provide the advanced, cultured style that’s Louis XIII Cognac. First created in 1874, it’s not till you delve deeper into the historical past and manufacturing of this ultra-premium cognac, that you simply realise that is no abnormal drink.
Travelling to Cognac, the HQ of Rémy Martin, we had been right here to find extra in regards to the craft behind the brandy selection that’s solely made on this area of south-west France.
Visiting Louis XIII’s prestigious Grollet Property and household home, we loved a scrumptious tourteau Charentais with a glass of wine whereas looking over the vines, whose grapes are destined to at some point grow to be cognac. We be taught that the winery soil right here is generally lime. Because of this the vines will “undergo” because the roots work exhausting to undergo the density of the limestone to 20cm deep, and attain the vitamins beneath. The extra the vine suffers the higher the wine…
Different advantages of lime are that it’s a porous stone, so in winter it absorbs the water after which releases it in summer time. The solar displays off the white stones across the vines, making the rising local weather even hotter. As is widespread with cognac producers and farmers, they be taught from each other take care of the annual local weather adjustments. Ugni blanc is the grape selection most used for cognac; nonetheless, attributable to local weather change, different adaptable varieties are actually being sought.
The Cognac area boasts six completely different development areas: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois, and Bois Ordinaires, mentioned the Cognac Skilled weblog. These areas are known as “cru” or development area, however “these within the know” will “all the time use the phrase terroir”. Rémy Martin solely makes use of grapes from the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne, which has its personal appellation known as “High quality Champagne”. However Louis XIII solely makes use of grapes from the Grande Champagne, the primary cru of the Cognac area. The fragrant profile of the grapes exudes a steadiness and opulence of candy notes, floral and spicy.
Cellars and barrel making
Whenever you sip Louis XIII you might be tasting the time that has gone into the making of it. Each decanter is the product of the forward-thinking cellar grasp who has fastidiously chosen the highest eaux‐de‐vie (which means water of life) to create Louis XIII. Present cellar grasp Baptiste Loiseau, who does his copious tastings within the morning with a clear palette and starvation inside, is placing apart the best eaux‐de‐vie as a legacy to his successors over the following century.
Strolling across the dimly-lit cellar, damp and smelling mushroomy with cobwebs within the corners, I used to be advised that 2-3% of the liquid evaporates into the air, which they name the “angels’ share”. That’s about 8,000 bottles value a day.
The valuable liquid destined to be cognac is saved in massive French oak barrels, known as tierçons, from the Limousin forest. When the barrels present indicators of damage they’re patched up with elements of outdated barrels.
We had been fortunate sufficient to have a tour of the barrel-making facility, which had a palpable medieval ambiance. Right here you’ll find craftsman carrying aprons, clanging hammers, and fires to toast and caramalise the wooden to flavour the liquid which is able to find yourself inside. There’s moulding and mending with precision and keenness, with a contemporary twist of a laser machine on the very finish to bespoke model.
Style take a look at and suggestions
When tasting cognac, in contrast to widespread false impression, you shouldn’t swirl the glass, neither is there a must heat it in your hand – so out with the old style balloon-shaped glasses that encourage you to take action. Warming the liquid will over-oxygenate it and launch an excessive amount of alcohol on the nostril, which is able to in flip affect the style.
It’s advisable to drink Louis XIII from a straight glass because it balances the extent of trade between the oxygen and liquid. Upon my first sip of Louis XIII I famous a spicy aroma, a pair extra sips and the entire image of what was in my glass got here collectively – citrus, sweet fruit, figs on a tart, honey and plum, a concoction of candy festive flavour, like a Christmas pudding.
Some prompt meals pairings, together with, maybe unpredictably, caviar, because it creates a milky clean texture in your mouth; as does bellota ham, the cognac cuts by means of the fattiness. It additionally curiously pairs effectively with pomegranate granite.
Introducing ‘The Drop’
Simply because the cellar grasp plans his blends for a cognac that will likely be drunk a era forward, the most recent bottle and product from Louis XIII is made for a brand new era – the transportable “The Drop”, for these all the time on the transfer.
With a view to capturing a up to date Louis XIII viewers, the corporate not too long ago launched The Drop in eye-catching bijou bottles, the identical iconic design as the unique bottle primarily based on a sixteenth century flask discovered on a battlefield, however this time with vibrant straps to hold it across-body. Launched with a variety of 5 vibrant lids, every lovely bottle incorporates a 10ml pristine mix of Louis XIII cognac.
The Drop bottles retail for £160 every or as an unique field of 5 bottles for £750. For Louis XIII excursions and experiences see louisxiii-cognac.com