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Cognac “made” in Périgord
House of Cognac

Cognac “made” in Périgord

A mono-cru cognac from the vines owned by the municipality of Saint-Aulaye, Dordogne was presented this May 16 to institutional and the press. It is launched by a famous house of AOP.

« Our AOC Cognac was not valued. This time we are entering into real recognition » : Yannick Lagrenaudie, mayor of Saint-Aulaye, 1500 inhabitants, in Dordogne, does not sulk his pleasure. On May 16, he will make taste institutional, representatives of tourism, media, the first cognac mono cru from communal vineyards, launched by the house Camus. In fact, Saint-Aulaye and four other communes (Laroche-Chalais, Parcoul, Chenaud, Puymangou) are sitting on the Cognac appellation since 1909.

The municipality invests

In the 90s, the crisis of cognac hit the thirty winemakers who exploit 70 ha on the five communes. Grubbing up bonuses are followers. Result: today winegrowers are counting on the fingers of one hand. Only four of them work 12 hectares dedicated to Cognac, divided into “Bois à terroir” and “Bons bois” vintages. To avoid seeing the name disappear, the predecessor of Yannick Lagrenaudie, acquired in 1999 1.5 ha of vines, grape variety colombard. The lease is entrusted to a winemaker, Claude Rouzeau, responsible for maintaining the vines and raising the wine from these parcels. Cognac produced, part in cooperative.

Save the last vines

Became mayor, Yannick Lagrenaudie, wonders: how to stand out and value this cognac that has no visibility? “ We had to find a cognac house that was interested in the richness of our terroirs and in our struggle to save the last vines of the Dordogne ,” he says. In 2014, he meets at Vinexpo, Cyril Camus, who presides over the destiny of the cognac house of the same name (a turnover of 100 M €, 97% export), the only large independent house since 1863. Cyril Camus has he been sensitive to the preservation of the viticultural heritage of Saint-Aulaye at the extreme limit of AOC cognac? In any case, an exclusive collaboration agreement is signed with the town hall.

Aging on the commune

Fabien, the son of Claude Rouzeau, who took over the family estate, vinifies the 1.5 hectares of vines. The wines from the 2015 harvest were distilled with their lees in small 2,500 liter copper stills in the Camus distillery. In spring 2016, brandy is back in Saint-Aulaye, in one of the castle towers for aging in oak barrels from the forest of La Double. A second aging is carried out in barrels of 225 liters containing Monbazillac. What give aromas of candied oranges and dried fruits.

Finishing at Monbazillac

Fabien Rouzeau is proud of the result: « This is a mono vintage cognac, vintage 2015, numbered, a single grape vine namely the colombard, a single farm » He says. On the label, a yellow-gold color reminiscent of the Monbazillac dress, is the design of the Château de Saint-Aulaye, which dates back to the 11th century. At the bottom of the label, mention “Monbazillac cask finish”. A small collar should explain the approach undertaken by the municipality. 3000 bottles a year, numbered will be marketed online and in Europe. Selling price 55 euros. The commune should perceive « a small margin » on sales according to Yannick Lagrenaudie. The latter intends to develop the AOC Cognac on its territory. At the beginning of May, 50 ares were planted, always a colombian variety. « We want to make young farmers want to produce here an atypical cognac « he says.

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