The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2016

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december 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  45 Harrod's in London. We arrived at the blend for this very limited edition after a two-year selection process; the blend includes Grande Champagne from 1909 stocks that were used to originate the Napoleon marque, Grande Champagne lots from 1972 and Borderies from the 80s, which combine the richness of Grande Champagne and the floral quality of Borderies. The blend is then rested in very old casks for two years prior to bottling. Our Baccarat decanter was inspired by a very loyal Courvoisier Napoleon consumer from Miami who had purchased a ring worn by Napoleon's most loyal soldiers. This rare object gave us the idea for the mag- nificent ring-shaped decanter with a diamond stopper. DPW: Tell us a few things about Courvoisier production that may be surprising. Pinet: I trained as a winemaker in Bordeaux making white and sparkling wines, and we pay far more atten- tion to the quality of the base wines for our marks than is commonly understood. We buy about 90 percent of our wine from growers who have been growing grapes for Courvoisier for decades. We test, through micro-distilla- tion, every batch of wine for quality before we purchase. The grapes are picked when they are fully mature for finished wines with good balance and an emphasis on acidity. We carefully evaluate the base wines and make a selection for specific marks. As Master Blender, I approve all of the blends, but blending at Courvoisier is very much a company-wide endeavor. Our tasting panel is comprised of eight tasters from different departments within the company that have trained for two years to understand the style. DPW: The Bureau Interprofessionel du Cognac (BNIC) reports that Cognac saw a 13% increase in volume and 49.2% in value growth in the U.S. last year and is on track for record sales in 2016. As the third-best-performing brand, what does that mean for Courvoisier? Pinet: Courvoisier sells about one-third of our volume in the U.S. market with Russia, China and the United Kingdom being key markets for us as well. The cocktail renaissance in the U.S. has inspired interest in all premium brown spirits, particularly those with a sophis- ticated brand image like Courvoisier, which is helping to support our growth. TPM: What's your favorite way to enjoy Courvoisier in a cocktail? Pinet: My current favorites include VSOP with Mandarin orange liqueur, a combination that plays on the notes of dried tangerine peel in the Cognac and the candied orange zest in the Mandarin liqueur. Also, the Midnight in Paris, a tall cocktail that pairs VS or VSOP with a spicy, housemade ginger ale. The mixologists in San Francisco are creating a gorgeous mix of cocktails with Courvoisier, and I'm inspired by them every time I visit the market. L'Essence, the ulti- mate expression of Courvoisier, flanked by Courvoisier XO and Courvoisier VSOP. Courvoisier® Cognac and Liqueur, 18-40% alc./vol. Courvoisier Import Company, Deerfield, IL USA. Courvoisier is a trademark of Courvoisier S.A.S. ©2016 Courvoisier S.A.S.

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