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Renaud de Champ Contre Raison Personnelle 1.0 Cognac

  • Renaud de Champ Contre Raison Personnelle 1.0 Cognac

Renaud de Champ Contre Raison Personnelle 1.0 Cognac

  • Availability: In Stock
  • Quantity Available: 8
  • SKU #: 10102
  • $209.99


Renaud de Champ Contre Raison Personnelle 1.0 Cognac

  • Availability: In Stock
  • Quantity Available: 8
  • SKU #: 10102
  • $209.99


Renaud de Champ Contre Raison Personnelle 1.0 Cognac

This is from barrel 1.0, and is a blend of Grande Champagne eaux-de-vies from the years 1996, 1998 and 2000. This was bottled in 2014, so this is decidedly on the younger end versus most Cognacs that have been on offer in the recent past. The nose shows an easygoing nature with aromas of butterscotch candy, white flowers, figs, prunes, pineapple, dried apricot, leather, spice and honeycomb. The palate has bright and easy-going nature with pretty apricot and pineapple with a light butterscotch and oak spice. D&M Tasting Notes

A throwback to Bertrand and Sabine’s first release from back in 2014. While we were waiting for boats to arrive at the dock, we did a US survey of what Cognac had been hiding in a bunker somewhere in the US. In doing so, we found a distributor with the first inaugural release from Renaud de Champ Contre. The Euro was a bit higher and the blend a bit younger, but after tasting the bottling, we knew we had something special here. This is from barrel 1.0, and is a blend of Grande Champagne eaux-de-vies from the years 1996, 1998 and 2000. This was bottled in 2014. 

This comes from a producer that is quite an outlier versus most of their peers and contemporaries in Cognac. Sabine de Witasse once explained to our man on the ground how she and her husband, children of the city, made their way to the Cognac region. Both she and her husband Bertrand were raised in Paris and after completing university, joined the ranks of the tech world. Bertrand had an uncle in Angeac-Champagne who distilled Cognac and sold it to the large houses. The family would visit this uncle and his domaine during the summer to get away from Paris and the crowds. In these visits the Uncle, who was single and without children, would ruminate on what would become of the property when he retired. While Bertrand and Sabine liked tech (this was the late 80s to early 90s) they were getting tired of the pace and pressure within the industry. Add to that their two young kids, and the City was beginning to lose its appeal. Bertrand worked out a business plan with his uncle and, in 1994, the family moved to Angeac-Champagne. Bertrand set about learning his uncle’s craft from scratch. The uncle was what we here in the US would call a hoarder and a bit anachronistic. One of the stills used at the property was fired with wood (as it had been since 1935), and while Bertrand and Sabine modernized much, they kept that old wood fired still intact. They went about tearing down walls, refurbishing wine tanks, and installing a more modern wine press. They also carted off a couple generations worth of detritus. As Sabine remarked (about her husband) a couple of years ago: “He has put in so much work, you wouldn’t believe what the place looked like before!”

Bertrand today has a warm demeanor with soft gray hair; his face is framed with dark-rimmed glasses. Charles Neal reported that his handshake bears the texture of someone accustomed to working outside. Like his uncle before him, Bertrand farms and distills for Remy Martin, Martell and Hennessey. The domaine today is made up of 47 acres of sustainable farmed Ugni Blanc vines. In the 2010s, they went through the process to have their vineyards certified as HVE (French for High Environmental Value.) The de Witasse family distills about 5300 gallons of pure alcohol a year (most of which is under contract.) Bertrand mans two stills; the first is 12 hectoliters and dates from 1935, and is run with wood and charcoal. The second more modern one is 20 hectoliters and fired by gas. While the gas still can be programmed and is easier to regulate, the wood still demands constant attention. Here, the still has temperatures that fluctuate slightly and therefore creates spirits that can be said to have a little bit more soul.

They keep a very small amount for themselves that ages in a small cave on the other side of the property-- this is generally from the wood fired still. As a reminder of one of Bertrand’s quirks, he is a fan of music (Sonic Youth, The Breeders, The Ramones) and plays bass in a local band called The Alambic Brothers. During the long nights in front of the still, he often practices his instrument between cuts or wood feeds. The family ages the new make spirit first in newer oak for about a year before transferring it to older oak barrels. The alcohol by volume is generally cut with water to 60% ABV, then little by little brought to 50% ABV where they let nature take over. The couple release about one cask a year, usually coming from a blend of two to five barrels from several different vintages. From their colorful label that they designed themselves, you can tell this is a domaine taking a different path. When Charles asked about the name Raison Personnelle (Personal Reasons) Bertrand snickered and said, “Because that’s what it says on the label.” Michael Kennel, D&M



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