Imagine you are creating the ultimate dinner party for friends, family, or just that special someone. As a sophisticated individual, you already know about the importance of matching your cuisine to the wine. Yet what about that special moment when dinner is officially over, and you simply want to linger and talk about the important things in life over a glass of something fortifying and delicious?
Enter Remy Martin 1989, a new single vintage Cognac from this most respected of Cognac houses. Why Cognac? Why this producer and vintage, specifically?
Remy Martin, the world’s top Cognac producer, has just released this single-harvest Cognac from a single vineyard, rendering it arguably one of the most specific Cognacs in terms of time and place available today. Why now? If you are reading this article, you have a sophisticated palate and a passion for the best life has to offer. Cognac, specifically aged Cognac of this quality from a trusted producer, is part of enjoying life to the max.
Remy Martin 1989 Cognac is a gorgeous amber color, fading to a watery white meniscus and legs (the way the liquid moves when swirled) that are rather fast to form and fall. The nose is medium plus in intensity, with a soft aroma of flowers and ripening apple. On the palate, the wine is dry, with medium plus acidity, smooth ripe subtle tannins, medium body, and a remarkably long length with finish of gently spiced apple cider and a hint of clove. Loosely translated from the rather technical jargon above, you would experience a warm smooth light richness with each precious sip, a tantalizing aroma of sultry apple, and very light, refreshing flavors of succulent clove-scented caramelized figs on the palate.
Understanding How Cognac is Made
Cognac begins its life as grapes from the Grand Champagne region of Cognac, France. Ugni Blanc (called Trebianno in Italy) is the main grape (95%) used to produce the eaux-de-vie (base wine) that will ultimately become Cognac. This grape offers high yields, has a good natural acidity, and provides floral, spicy notes — an aroma the French define as patisserie (pastry) to the finished product.
Harvested by hand, these grapes are quickly fermented with the gentler, traditional plate press, as any bruising of the skin would give the eaux-de-vie acidic bitterness. By law, all Cognac must be distilled by midnight on March 31 of the year following the harvest. Distillation takes place on the Charentais still, with the eaux-de-vie distilled twice. The first pass is distilled in its entirety, with the resulting product called the brouillis (low wine, abv between 26 and 29% percent).
The brouillis is then redistilled, with the distiller keeping close watch on a mechanism called a hydrometer (along with relying on his own eyes and nose) to cut the distillate into three parts. The heads (the first part) are discarded, as are the tails (the third part) as they contain off-aromas. The only part the distiller is interested in is called the heart, now called the bon chauffe.
Why Remy Martin 1989?
In Cognac, 1989 had hot summer days, cool nights, and low rainfall – ideal conditions for a great cognac. The winemaker at the time, Georges Clot, recognized it would be a key vintage and prepared accordingly by aging the product in oak casks carved from wood taken from France’s stellar Limousine forest. Clot’s successors continued to check on the aging cognac, and in 2007, current cellar master Pierette Trichet recognized it was approaching its peak and authorized its release to the market.
Call your local wine store to secure a bottle of this delicious, historic Cognac, which will be released in September of 2008. It comes in a black frosted bottle with a re-sealable wooden cork.