Series 3 XO. The L’Exemplaire program is drawn from 98 barrels, all from Grande Champagne. We have it on authority from Charles that this bottling is a blend of two single barrels that were aged 22 and 24 years old. This bottling has a slightly lighter color than the XO release. Forthcoming nose has aromas of plums, nuts, and hard toffee. The palate is direct with a good palate presence and additional notes of vanilla stick and pepper. The finish is clean and lifted by a slight burst of alcohol. Charles Neal, Importer
A couple of years ago, Cognac producer Claudine Dudognon-Buraud invited me to a little get-together. It was being held at her nephew's distillery about a mile away from her domaine. When we got there, there were about fifteen people having an aperitif in front of the alembic still. It was a local mix of some older local distillers with a small domaine who sell everything to negoçiants, some sons and daughters of distillers, and then finally some were just friends of the nephew. After an hour or so of chatting about Cognac and life we had an excellent dinner in front of the still. Sitting across from me was a gentleman named Thierry Massacre who told me he was one of the distillers at Distillerie Gelinaud. Gelinaud is one of the larger Bouilleurs de Profession in the region. Think of these as the professional middlemen distillers that have anywhere from four to forty stills. Their business is distillation; they convert the great majority of Cognac grower’s wines into eau de vie: usually for the large houses.
Several months later I was in the region again and decided to go visit Thierry in situ . I had seen this distillery many times from the highway just south of Jarnac and it had caught my interest. It sits atop a hill overlooking the road with its multiple chimneys steaming in the distance, and its silver wine tanks shining in the afternoon sun. When I arrived, I was met by Gregoire Lucas, the part-owner of the distillery. Gregorie was actually born in the Armagnac region, and as a young man he moved to Cognac and married into the Gelinaud family before working his way up through the ranks. He led me around the building and explained that today the company has 19 stills. Most of the stills have a 2500 liters capacity while there are a few that are 3500 liters and used for the first distillation. The stills are located in two buildings that are attached by a wooden bridge. These are beautiful structures, whose industrialism is softened by the still’s earthy maroon colors.
Thierry arrived and led me through the business process. The Gelinaud operation will take in wine delivered by some two hundred different growers. These are farmers that might have anywhere from five to thirty acres of vines but have no still themselves. The growers instead ferment their grapes into wine and sell this to Gelinaud. In the distillery Thierry said that while a handful of the stills are computerized, the great majority of the stills are manually operated. This means that even in this age of computer control most of the distilling cuts and the start and finish of the distillation are done by trained still-men. In a typical distillation season, which runs from the beginning of November until the end of March, they will distill between 800,000 to 1 million liters of pure alcohol. This will be enough to fill between four to five thousand barrels. While the concern sells to a handful of large houses, the vast majority of the distillate will go to Courvoisier. As Thierry and I were talking, Gregoire returned to tell me a little bit about his passion project. In addition to distilling the labor and wine of others, the Gelinaud family also distills spirits from their own property. This includes vines behind and around the distillery in the town of Mainxe. Several years ago Gregorie and a business partner began bottling this family cache under the Marancheville label. They have ageing stocks that they draw from that stretch back up to 30 years, and to date they have issued four releases. After tasting through all of them, I loved the oldest release, which showed great purity and finesse. Enjoy! Charles Neal, Importer
Marancheville L'Exemplaire Grande Champagne Cognac
- Availability: In Stock
- Quantity Available: 1
- SKU #: 8697