Does Appellation Matter to You?

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BSinTX
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Does Appellation Matter to You?

Postby BSinTX » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:49 am

Having just finished a review on Monnet, it occurred to me that there was no mention of appellation on the bottle or website. This is quite common for sure, but it makes for an interesting discussion, especially for the international followers. Does Appellation matter to you? Do you find Cognac from the Grande Champagne to be superior to all others?

As an American, I did not grow up being told this appellation was better than that one. As I discovered Cognac, I also discovered that many "experts" seem to parrot the notion that eau de vie coming from Grande Champagne was superior to all others for "so and so" reason. This creates quite an interesting difference of opinions based upon totally different circumstances. In summary, I don't necessarily find Grande Champagne Cognacs to be superior in any way to any other Cognacs. It could be argued that this is because I am a knuckle dragging American who doesn't know what he's talking about (see, I can be honest about these topics!!), or it could be because I have not been exposed to the mindless brainwashing that those attending government run schools must endure. My guess is that the truth is somewhere in the middle. :D

So what is everyone's take on appellation as the source of eau de vie?

Pierre
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Re: Does Appellation Matter to You?

Postby Pierre » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:22 am

As a french guy who attended government run schools :mrgreen: I'll say that I try to avoid any considerations about this factor, based on a simple law: if there's a difference, with experience I'll feel it. Otherwise, if I'm unable to feel it at all, how's this difference relevant anyway...
To be honnest, I do believe it is one factor, just like usually older brandy tends to be less aggressive, but good quality always shines, even from the Fins Bois area with a VSOP cognac, so... And I'll even say more: I like the idea that there are different crus with different profiles so I can drink different types of cognacs, why should I limit myself to one profile just because it has a "bit more of this" or a "bit more of that" ?

On a more subjective line, I also happen to find out that people who underline the superiority of Grande Champagne over other crus often have opinions that I don't really share, e.g. "It is best if you buy cognac from the big four, because they have access to the best quality and oldest eaux-de-vie": ermmmm, that's not really my impression at the moment. It makes me think that many advocates of these classifications just repeat what they heard...

There are producers that propose cognacs from the different crus (with same age statement etc...), if one of them was kind enough to sell a tasting pack with 5cl bottles of this, I'd be happy to make the experiment and compare. At the moment I never tasted 100% Fins Bois or Bons Bois or even Bois Ordinaires, although I'll try soon enough Chateau de Beaulon which is Fins Bois I believe.

bobt
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Re: Does Appellation Matter to You?

Postby bobt » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:45 pm

Interesting topic. It's true that most of us were "raised" to believe that Grande Champagne is the best, but I like your mention of Chateau de Beaulon, Pierre. Nothing wrong with that one.

BSinTX
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Re: Does Appellation Matter to You?

Postby BSinTX » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:13 am

My opinion is that the Appellation doesn't make the Cognac special, the cellar master does this. This does not mean that there aren't great Cognacs from GC; Fontpinot is one of my favorites. It's just that of all the Cognac I have enjoyed and plan to enjoy, I don't see too much distinction of those coming from GC to be of a higher quality, pedigree, or taste over those that do not. This is why I am suspect about those statements relating Cognac from GC to be the best.

Camus and Maison Surrenne both have 100% Borderies blends and both are fantastic in their own way. They really do taste very different from most others. I believe Leopold Gourmel comes from Fin Bois, and they make some REALLY nice Cognacs. If I can muster the discipline to not open the bottle of Hardy Napoleon until I reach Brazil, this is a blend from different appellations and is just wonderful stuff.

vnortier
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Re: Does Appellation Matter to You?

Postby vnortier » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:46 am

How does De La Tour CG2 XO Cognac rate ?

numen
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Re: Does Appellation Matter to You?

Postby numen » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:17 pm

Appellation makes a little difference to me, though, I suppose, that it depends on the context. For instance, when it comes to calvados, there are entirely different production methods and differences in the content (Pays d'Auge and Domfrontais, for instance). When it comes to eau-de-vie, especially when it comes to small-scale grower-producers, I think that it's a factor -- some villages/plots are more conducive to producing better fruit, but that's almost more micro-climate than appellation. I don't subscribe to the GC > PC >Borderies > rest school of thought. If I recall, the names for the different cognac producing districts (at least GC and PC) refer to the soil, not necessarily the quality of the products. That's not to say that the same fruit from different districts won't or may not have slightly different profiles, but not that it's necessarily better.

Frankly, I've really liked a lot of cognac that I've had from Petite Champagne, Borderies, and the other districts. Chateau de Beaulon is an excellent producer because they obviously put a lot of care into production and have an excellent cellar master. I would say the same thing about Maison Surrenne, a label that has bottles from GC, PC, and Borderies. All are excellent.


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