The Town of Cognac dates back 2000 years with grape cultivation dating back over 1500 years, from the time of Roman Empire.
The House of Remy Martin was founded in 1724 and in 1738 King Louis XV granted Remy Martin the exceptional right to plant new vines.
Remy Martin prides itself on using grapes from the two most sought-after regions, Grande & Petite Champagne. Remy Martin created the Fine Champagne Cognac category in 1927 stipulating the liquid used must contain a minimum of 50% Grande Champagne grapes.
Paul Emile Remy Martin registered Louis XIII as the most prestige’s Cognac in the world in 1874, 150 years after the Remy Martin house was established. Louis XIII comes from the most sought-after cru, the Heart of Cognac: Grande Champagne.
Grande Champagne was deemed the best Cru of the Cognac region as it produces a more aromatic, intense form of grape. “Champagne” is not to be confused with “French Champagne” (such as Verve etc.), the word describes the landscape & chalky soil of the region.
The white wine used in making cognac is often referred to as dry & acidic, which is perfect for distillation and ageing of quality Cognac. After the grapes are pressed, the juice is left to ferment for 2–3 weeks, with the region’s native, wild yeasts converting the sugar into alcohol; neither sugar nor sulfur is allowed to be added.
Distillation takes place in traditionally shaped Charentais copper alembic stills, the design and dimensions of which are legally controlled. Two distillations must be carried out; the resulting eau de vie is a colourless spirit of about 70% alcohol. Once distillation is complete, cognac must be aged in Limousin oak casks for at least two years. It is typically put into casks at an alcohol by volume strength around 70%. As the cognac interacts with the oak barrel and the air, it evaporates at the rate of about 3% each year, slowly losing both alcohol and water. This phenomenon is called locally la part des Anges, or “the angels’ share”.
The age of the cognac is calculated as that of the youngest component used in the blend. The blend is usually of different ages and from different local areas. This blending, or marriage, of different Eaux de vie, is important to obtain a complexity of flavours absent from an Eaux de vie from a single distillery or vineyard.
Each cognac house has a master taster, who is responsible for blending the spirits so that cognac produced will have a consistent house style and quality. Baptiste Loiseau is the 5th Cellar Master at Remy Martin and he trained under Pierrette Trichet, Remy Martin’s 4th Cellar Master who retired in 2015.