A Rare Opportunity To Experience Grower/Distiller Cognac In The United States
The Vallet Family
The name Château de Montifaud is historically linked to the land where the distillery sits. A castle used to be located there, which is why the word "château" is permitted to be used, a rarity in Cognac. Documents show that the Vallet family has been making cognac here since 1837, though the family believes production started even earlier. Sixth generation Laurent Vallet currently runs the business, taking over from his father Michel in 2010, though Michel still plays an active role in the business.
Grower / Distiller Cognac
Most of the cognac available in the United States comes from negociants, which are companies that either buy grapes from growers and contract to have it distilled, or buy distillate to age and blend. Of the approximately 4,600 grape growers in the Cognac region, only around a dozen produce and export their own cognac.This approach to making cognac has several benefits, starting with full control across all stages of production. Grapes are farmed using traditional methods, grapes are pressed immediately after picking and distillation takes place on-site, as does maturation, blending and bottling.
Achieving An Exceptional Expression Of Petite Champagne
Château de Montifaud is located in Jarnac-Champagne in the Petite Champange sub-region of Cognac, as are the majority of its vineyards. The family farms 120 hectares of grapes, and 110 of those are in Petite Champagne, with the other ten hectares in nearby Grande Champagne. Petite Champagne's signature is its soil, which is full of chalk and capable of making cognac built to age with great depth and complexity, with single vintages in the Château de Montifaud going back over one hundred years. In order to achieve this depth and complexity, maturation times need to significantly exceed the required minimums in Cognac. For example, Château de Montifaud's VSOP is aged for eight to 10 years instead of the required four, and its X.O. is aged for 28 to 30 years instead of the required six and a half.
Four to five years old. The first eight months are spent in new oak, making this young cognac gentle on the palate. 40% ABV
- 96–100 Points, Classic - Wine Enthusiast
Eight to ten years old. The first eight months are spent in new oak. Notes of vine leaf in the nose, which leans toward dried flowers. 40% ABV
- Silver Medal - WSWA Tasting Competition, 2017
- Gold Medal, Best Cognac - WSWA Tasting Competition, 2011
Fifteen to eighteen years old. Some tea notes, but mostly dried flowers in the nose with some mineral tones and hints of vanilla. 40% ABV
- 90–95 Points, Superb - Wine Enthusiast
Twenty-seven to thirty years old. This X.O. includes the 1963, 1965, and 1967 distillations. No excess tannins, so this cognac retains its freshness and delicacy, with mature waves of aromas. 40% ABV
- 96–100 Points, Classic - Wine Enthusiast
Blend includes cognacs ranging from 22 to 23 years old. Aged several years in roux cask and then in old cask. The grapes are sourced from the family's 110 hectares in Petite Champagne. Distillation, maturation, blending and bottling all happen on-site. 40% ABV
Pineau des Charentes is the result of stopping the grape juice fermentation within hours of the pressing by blending it with cognac that is at least one year old — a process that originally occurred by mistake in 1589. Today, Pineau des Charentes production is strictly controlled to ensure high quality, and it must be made by pineau producers in the Cognac region using extremely ripe grapes. White pineau can be made with ugni blanc, colombard, folle blanche, montils, semillon and sauvignon blanc grapes, among others. Château de Montifaud, however, uses only ugni blanc (20%) and colombard (80%). The ugni blanc grape gives the finesse and elegance and a little bit of acidity, while colombard provides the rich aroma.
For the Pineau des Charentes Rosé, Château de Montifaud uses only merlot and cabernet franc grapes. The process requires 48 hours of maceration, as the grape juice must not begin fermentation.
Château de Montifaud Pineau des Charentes Blanc 18% ABV
Château de Montifaud Pineau des Charentes Rosé 17% ABV
- "Never have I been so enchanted by a before dinner drink as this." - Robert M. Parker, Jr.