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Tasting 100 % Cognac: an exceptional selection

Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez

SommelierS International organized on February 1st a prestige tasting at Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez in Bordeaux. For this exceptional en­counter placed under the aegis of Nelson Chow, president of the sommeliers of Hong Kong and China, over 80 participants were present out of which the members of the Association of Sommeliers of Bordeaux Aquitaine headed by Bertrand Bijasson, as well as barmen, som­meliers, cellar shop owners, bloggers, who all came to dis­cover anexclusive selection of spirits.

The visitors had the honour and pleasure to discover a very qualitative range of Cognacs. Many distinguished partners, like Saunion, cheesemonger Jean d’Alos, Biers Foie Gras and Caviar Petrossian helped making of this tasting a moment reall appreciated by the professionals, enabling them to discover the major pairings with Cognac.

Saunion, chocolate maker since 1893, who ensures continued existence to the tradition for several generations, proposed the profesionals a selection of chocolate (dark and with spices). The range of aromas perfectly matched those of the Cognacs that all the guests could discover and that livened up the palates of the tasters.

Since 1983, cheesemonger Jean d'Alos has developed his savoir-faire with a range of 150 cheeses, most of them from the farm with raw milk. A selection of the best terroirs and producers is an essential condition to the positioning of Jean d’Alos at a level of excellence. The craftsman sells his products in his shops, the best resturants of the Southwest of France and at export all over the world. During the 100% Cognac Tasting, Clarence Grosdidier proposed different varieties of cheese to multiply the gustatory experiences.

TO delight the palates, Pierre Talbot, founder of Foie Gras Biers, served five up-range blends. The visitors could discover: Whole Duck Foie Gras sublimated with rare and wild Voatsiperifery pepper from Madagascar; an authentic recipe from 1908 of Grand Café Castel; a foie gras sublimated with Espelette chilli, as well as a Whole Duck Foie Gras de Canard Entier with rare Kampot white pepper and with Premier Grand Cru Classé of Sauternes.

At last, Petrossian kindly served the selection Ossetra Impérial from the best caviars of oscietra sturgeon. At sight, the caviar seduces with the elegance of its amber to bronze colour, and the golden tinges are often compared to pearls. On the palate, in pairing with Cognac, it shows a festival of flavours. The grains roll on the palate and the tongue plays with them while the flavours develop.

After a morning full of discoveries and surprises the guests and representatives of the Cognac houses could enjoy a buffet lunch while exchanging about the tasting. An opportunity to discover two wines made by Gérard Bertrand: Aigle Royal Chardonnay et Viala 2011. Domaine de l'Aigle is a 31-hectare estate located in the most northern part of the vineyard in the Upper Valley of the Aude at 250 to 500 meters. There they produce very fine wines made of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Aigle royal stems from the highest plot of Chardonnay of the domain, planted on clay and limestone soils. Viala stems from a plot of Château Laville Bertrou, situated on a an exceptional terroir in the high-quality appellation La Livinière (officially reco­gnized in 1998) and synonymous of grand Languedoc wines. This extraoridnary terroir purchased by Gérard Bertrand in 1997 enables to craft powerful wines with cha­racter that are much awarded. Two high standing wines for perfect and well-balanced pairings.

The event benefitted from a partnership with glassmaker Cristal de Sèvres who displayed the glasses of their range Toujours. The Vinea glasses adapted to the spirits are ideal to perfect the sensory analysis of the Cognacs.

Also partners of the tasting, cooper Tonnellerie de Jarnac, represented by Bernard de Montaigu, has been applying its savoir-faire for 30 years. Continuously seeking excellence, they work in small series, respectful of the traditions, to propose to their customers high-end barrels and vats for wines and brandies.

SommelierS International kindly thanks the Cognac houses, the visitors, BNIC, the gourmet partners, Cristal de Sèvres as well as the team at Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez for their commitment and professionalism.

Charlynne Zirah


Photos of the event