There are lots of Cognac producers to choose from and they all offer tastings. Before or after your tour, you could explore the town of Cognac itself, especially the old town with it’s narrow streets lined with medieval timber framed houses and handsome 16th century mansions once home to wealthy merchants. Sometimes we pass up on the big Cognac houses to visit of one of the small artisan producers where you get a more intimate and personal look into the mysterious alchemy of making Cognac. They do say it’s all about ‘le terroire’ (the soil and the people).
Cognac Distilleries & Cognac
They also say “all Cognac is brandy but not all brandy is Cognac” and in fact the real stuff is only made from grapes grown west of L’Age Baston to the Atlantic. It would be a shame for you to be in this part of ‘La Belle France’ without exploring the liquid riches of Cognac A.O.C.
Everybody knows the names of the famous brands like Hennessey, Martell and Courvoisier. Not so familiar are the hundreds of small producers and distilleries in the region who supply the big brand blenders with their eau de vie and who make their own cognac for their discerning local customers. One of our personal favourites is Mr Peyrot at Jarnac, but you will get a warm welcome whoever you choose and the small producers don’t usually charge for visits.
Cognac (the drink) is big business and a major export earner. It is also a high profile tourist attraction and you will have lots of fun visiting distilleries and tasting what’s on offer! A visit to the towns of Cognac or Jarnac wouldn’t really be complete without a trip round one of the famous Cognac Houses. You will be charged for the privilege of course but they all do a useful introduction into the making of Cognac and you could get a train ride round town (Martell) or a short boat trip across the Charente (Hennessey) into the bargain.
You might want to make a day of it and split things up with a scrumptious lunch somewhere. There is no shortage of things to do; you could follow one of the ‘Cognac Trails’ for instance, or take a ride down the River Charente in a ‘Gabare’ – a kind of wooden sailing barge that used to carry the precious cargo to the coast. You could take in the architectural delights of old Cognac or Jarnac, or just relax in pavement Cafes doing important research.
You could pass a fruitful day exploring and be back in time for a delicious dinner. What could be better?
Cognac Tourist Information Centre
Address: 16 Rue du 14 Juillet, 16100 Cognac, France
Phone:+33 5 45 82 10 71
Hours: Open 10:00 am – 5:00 pm