15 Years, Petite Champagne. This comes from the 1996 harvest in Petite Champagne, and was distilled during the 1997-1998 distilling season. After spending 15 years in cask #521, the distillate was kept at cask strength and hit glass in December 2012. This possesses aromas of ripe Orchard fruits: think apricot, and doughnut peach, with additional floral and oak spice notes. The palate has a great creamy texture to it a light wood tannin grip with flavors of apricot, oak barrel spice, the lightest suggestion of rancio, and puff pastry. D&M Tasting Notes
This house that we have for you is coming up on their bicentennial in two years; so we thought it high time we introduce you to the fine family at Comandon. Before we get to the family history of Comandon, we thought it useful to go over the overarching framework of wine and distillation in Cognac. The history of these vineyards, and the region that would become Cognac, stretch well over 800 years. In the 12th century, Guillaume X (Duke of Guyenne and Count of Poitiers) created a large vineyard known as the “Vignoble de Poitou.” The people of the town of Cognac at this point were already well known for their acumen, though the business of the day was the export of salt. In the early 1500s, the trading titans of the day, the Dutch, came to town. Dutch ships arrived in the ports of Cognac and Charentais in search of the famous wines of the “Champagne” and the “Borderies” areas. Trade was abundant and vineyard plantings increased. The wines from the vineyards in Aunis in 1559 suffered from excessive production and much reduced quality. Because of their lightness, they could not survive long sea voyages. The Dutch started utilizing the wines in their newly established distilleries. In these distilleries they are transformed into “brandewijn” (burnt wine) which became transliterated into “Brandy”. Once transported to the Netherlands it was consumed with water in an attempt to recreate the original wine. By the 1600s distillers were experementing with double distillation: more concentration equaled less space on ships. In 1678, Cogniack Brandy is written about in the London Gazette. Traders took notice of the change of flavor of this brandy as it was transported in oak barrels, and this quickly became a feature of the trade. The 1700s were a century of consolidation and the making of Cognac as we know it today. The houses of Martell, Remy Martin, Hennessey, Delamain, and Hine were all founded in this century.
The 1800s is when the Comandon family enters the picture. The first decades of the 1800s were not great for Cognac as Napoleon’s campaigns led to a huge decline of cognac exports, particularly with Great Britain, (the primary consumers of cognac at the time.) After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, and the normalization of trade between France and Great Britain, Cognac and Jarnac became boom towns. In 1821 a plucky 20-year-old by the name of Pierre Comandon established his business on the Charente river bank in Jarnac. This first Comandon was quite successful with extensive overseas sales in South America, Africa, and India. He later became the mayor of Jarnac in 1851, and continued to build the business for his son. Louis Comandon, Pierre’s son, had his work cut out for him. In 1875 the phylloxera plague hit Charente and destroyed almost 85% of vineyard plantings. He was an elected official in Charente and had a significant role in the reorganization of Cognac vineyards. Decisions that he and others were involved in led to the 1909 and 1936 decrees, that created the General Area for the production of Cognac and the controlled appellations of Cognac. The Comandon family gained another notoriety in the 20th century when Odette Comandon, wife of Étienne Comandon, joined the family in April 1934. Odette was a student and practitioner of Saintonge, think the Cajun of Charentais. She wrote plays, as well as newspaper columns, and strove to keep the Saintongue patois language alive in practice. Fast forward to today and in addition to owning the literal oldest house in Cognac, the Vigneron family (the current owners) have shifted the focus of the house away from the traditional to the specific. In addition to their vintage and terroir specific bottlings they do not allow for the addition of any additives, not even water! So here we have a bottle for you as untouched as possible, just as if you were to go to France and taste yourself!
Bottled: December 2012 43% ABV
Comandon XO Single Barrel Cognac
- Brand: Comandon
- Availability: In Stock
- Quantity Available: 2
- SKU #: 7909