A Taste of Cognac – June 6

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On this day we journeyed north of Bordeaux to the Cognac region, to taste two very different types of cognac, the opposite extremes of cognac, as one might say.

First, the celebrated and world-famous Remy-Martin. This vast estate has its headquarters on an unassuming street in old Cognac, but the elegant visitor’s center and tasting rooms are ultra-modern and ooze the wealth and status of one of the world’s top brands. Inside are thousands upon thousands of ancient casks of cognac, aging and ready to blend. Out in the country, outside of the old town, are giant warehouses full of even more tens of thousands of cognac casks. The sheer size of this estate is amazing. We toured the cellars, and tasted some fine cognacs. The cognac is excellent, and completely uniform. You know what to expect from Remy-Martin, and your expectations are never disappointed. Click on the link below to go to the website for Remy-Martin:

http://www.remymartin.com/

Next was lunch in Cognac at a lovely little restaurant in a 500-year-old building called Le Bistro de Claude. Another fabulous gourmet lunch in France! Click here to go to the website for Le Bistro de Claude:

http://www.bistro-de-claude.com/restaurant.html

After lunch we left the town of Cognac for the countryside, and to visit the cognac house of Leopold-Gourmel. We traveled winding country roads, until at last we reached a very small village with crumbling buildings, one of which had a small sign, Leopold-Gourmel. We were about to see the other side of cognac. We met in a very small tasting room, about the size of the entrance hall of Remy-Martin. Then we were led to a ancient building which had been used by the Nazi’s as stables during World War II, and still had German inscriptions on the walls. This building contained hundreds of casks of aging cognac, the blending stock of Leopold-Gourmel. Our host, Olivier Blanc the proprietor, is an evangelist of cognac. His passion is to create cognacs of rich taste, in a range of savors and aromas that correspond to the different stages of the cognac as it ages. He demonstrated these flavors to us by dipping into the casks themselves so that we could taste the cognacs in the barrels. The flavors were extraordinary, the experience unforgettable. Here in a former stable are born cognacs with a vibrancy and life not found in the palaces of the top brand. These cognacs celebrate their uniqueness, their individuality, instead of being forced to conform to an expected flavor. These cognacs are as full of flavor and personality, truly the product of one man’s dream and passion. The other extreme of cognac is just as fabulous as the first! Click on the link below to go to the website for Leopold-
Gourmel:

http://www.leopold-gourmel.com/en

Dinner was in the charming village of Bouliac, with a fabulous view over Bordeaux. Next to a 12th-century church, we dined at Cafe de L’Esperance, another culinary jewel in a rustic setting. Click on the link below to go to the website for Cafe de L’Esperance:

Cafe de L’Esperance

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