Friday, June 14, 2013

A visit to Cognac producer Henri Mounier

Everyone in South Africa knows the big names:
Hennessy, Martell, Remy Martin, Courvoisier, Bisquit etc. but there is another in the top ten
who doesn't get much product to our shores: H.Mounier, who produce several top end Cognacs, 
including Prince Hubert de Polignac and Cognac Hardy.
We were lucky enough to be given an introduction 
to the CEO Christophe Juarez, 
who invited us to pay him a visit:
The very subtle entrance to the Mounier offices 
in a little street
 a forest of huge stainless steel tanks of wine for brandy and Pineau
 The cold stabilisation room - at -5°C
In the laboratory with the Master distiller (maître de chai)Mickaël Bouilly
 New 500 litre oak casks being delivered
 and plenty of older casks full of product
 Michael Bouilly and the warehouse manager with Christophe Juarez
 They also use large oak vats for Pineau
 every cask is numbered and catalogued
 all this is in the modern facility outside the city
 A black mould, similar to that in the cellars of Tokai can be found on the walls
 We are used to seeing forests of steel tanks, but not these numbers of very large oak vats which are used for the Pineau (30% brandy 70% sweet grape juice)

 Samples in the lab - the colour deepens with age. No added colouring is used
 Sample bottles in the lab
 Bottled Cognacs in the tasting room
 but, first, we went into PARADISE, which is what they call the Library Cellar...full of very old casks and demijohns
 with examples of Cognacs going back to the mid nineteenth century
 and very old barrels for reference
 The best, but not the oldest, that we tasted from the barrel was the 1935. They were all in a league far beyond anything we had ever tasted before
 The oldest in this tasting was the 1914, made by women - the men had gone off to war. Society changed, with hardship, but for the better 
 more ancient demijohns
 Tasting the Prince Hubert de Polignac XO Extra
 Then back to the lab for a last look

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2013

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