Perhaps our biggest folly from this year's visit to Cognac was the idea that we could treat brandy like Scotch. Single barrel Cognac is not the rage in the France, but we figured that there must be some potential given the success we've had with whisky and Bourbon. Cognac, however, is simply not a spirit that stands on its own. It's the result of various processes, the most important of which is the marriage or blending of different casks. This was the case at every producer we visited - except for one. Enter Jacques Esteve - a small farmer with some fantastic estate fruit and even more fantastic small production Cognac (see our Coup de Coeur selection). We had spent most of the time in his tasting bar focusing on the selections he currently sells in France, but we did go spelunking under his house into his barrel selection. Deep in the dark, flashlight in hand, he found a cask of 1979 cognac. This was purely for scientific exploration to see if anyone had one cask that could stand alone. We loved it instantly - Esteve was the exception to the rule. Big spice, big richness, lots of fruit and loads of power even at a mere 44%. "You want this?" he asked in total shock. We're so unconventional! Perhaps our favorite Cognac of the trip, we had finally found something we felt would crossover into the Scotch world. Unfortunately, we can't legally bottle it as 1979 single cask, so we brought it in under his Reserve de la Famille label. Only 120 bottles available.
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By: Jeffrey Jones
K&L Staff Member
This a Cognac to contemplate. There are floral and vanilla aromas that open up in the glass. In the mouth there are flavors of vanilla , floral notes and a hint of nuts.The Esteve Reserve is fuller bodied and is very complex.
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