Pineau des Charentes Rouge
The Pineau Rouge is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Occasionally when grapes are particularly ripe, Sophie allows a day or two of spontaneous fermentation to occur before the “mutage”. After adding the Eau-de-Vie de Cognac in the proportion 1:4, the resulting “liqueur” is aged in a tank throughout the winter for a natural clarification. This is followed by two years of aging in barrels that are at least seven years old. A light filtration is done before bottling.
Pineau des Charentes is a wine-based liquor referred to in French as a “vin de liqueur”.
After the grapes have been manually harvested and pressed, What Sophie Brard-Blanchard calls an Eau-de-Vie de Cognac at a strength of 70% alc. is added to the unfermented juice to block the natural fermentation. In the service of finding balance in her Pineau, Sophie’s methods go well beyond the appellation requirements. No SO2 is used throughout the entire process.
A good glass of Cognac unites the head and the heart. It induces reflection and even nostalgia.
It, therefore, seems fitting to conjure up the provincial names of the region that preceded the departmental names, Charente and Charente-Maritime. Records show that as long ago as the 13th-century wines from Aunis, Saintonge and Angoumois were recognized for their remarkable qualities. By the 18th century, the region was known for its distilled wine.
The Brard-Blanchard family have been farming in the Charente for generations and like many other Cognac producers, they have gradually given up polyculture to concentrate on grape growing and wine and spirits production. Presently, Sophie Brard-Blanchard is at the helm of the family’s 20 hectares of vineyards and 7 hectares of grains. She produces red and white wines, red and white Pineau des Charentes and a range of Cognacs. Sophie’s father turned to organic farming in 1972 after having some health issues related to the chemicals he employed in the vineyard. The domaine is one of a small number in Cognac to be certified organic.
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