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Prestige Tasting Cognac

Prestige Tasting

Prestige Tasting Bassac

Prestige Tasting COgnac

L'Essille, Bassac – April 22nd, 2013

After the great success of the Special Spirit tasting of last November, SommelierS International has decided to repeat the operation with an event dedicated this time to a leading brandy: Cognac. Some Pineaus also took part in the ball directed by Joël Soupé, president of the sommeliers of Poitou-Charentes, accompanied by some 40 sommeliers from Charente and Aquitaine.

voir la video de la degustation / voir les autres vidéos de la degustation The Hotel and Restaurant L'Essille in Bassac had been chosen to host the event. Managed since more than ten years by the family Ferron, this establishment nestled in the Charente countryside, some kilometres away from Jarnac, is an inevitable address of the local gastronomy. The son Laurent is an active member of the Association of Sommeliers of Poitou-Charentes. Serge Ferron, the father, is fond of Cognac. Together they set up a list of 200 references of the spirit, the most prestigious carafes of which are exhibited in the bar. The establishment is full of charm, the restaurant is—rightly—famous, and the team is extremely kind. All in all L'Essille is the alliance of sympathy, quality and flavours.
As was the selection of Charente nectars proposed to the sommeliers as from the morning. 77 different Cognacs from VS to XO, from Napoleon to Hors d'age, 11 red and white pineaus and a Charente Vin de Pays have been submitted to the expert palates of the professional tasters.
The event's president of honour was Nelson Chow, head of the association of the sommeliers of a country whose growing market is the third importer of the Charente brandy: China. Philippe Faure-Brac has also actively participated in this intense working session directed by Joël Soupé, president of the sommeliers of Poitou-Charentes. The latter as well as the those from Bordeaux-Aquitaine, together with their president Bertrand Bijasson, strived all morning long to comment the elixirs and exchange their impressions. Beautiful products, wonderful carafes contributed to make this morning to be particularly appreciated by the professionals, with beautiful discoveries.
The complex aromas of the brandies have been perfectly highlighted by the glasses Open Up Spirits Cool of the range Chef & Sommelier that Arc International kindly provided for the occasion. These glasses have a special shape creating a real “carafe effect” thanks to an accelerated oxygenation of the drink. The convex part develops the aromas that are then concentrated in the concave part. The shape and the material respect the specificities of the spirits for a sublimated tasting experience.
The day carried on with the arriving of the House's represen­tatives, welcomed with the cocktail Summit, offered by the Bureau Interprofessionnel du Cognac. As a partner of the event, the BNIC wished to present this innovative aperitif, result of a collaboration of great mixologists during the International Cognac Summit. A fresh recipe—cognac, artisa­nal lemonade, lemon peel, cucumber skin, slice of fresh ginger—that will have a place of honour on the tables this summer and that can compete with the iconic cocktails.
In a prelude to the lunch, Nelson Chow expressed his great satisfaction to be present as the event offered him the oppor­tunity to taste top quality products, gathered in one and only place, and above all to meet the people who created them. He went on by reminding China's craze for Cognac, a product synonymous with luxury and social mobility.
After Philippe Faure-Brac said a few words, Serge Ferron launched the luncheon festivities. The farandole of the house's specialties started with a Salmon Tartar seasoned with ginger powder and lime on a bed of cucumber mirepoix, Cognac-flavoured cocktail sauce, served with a Cognac that had been cooled at -25°C which gave it a syrupy texture of the most beautiful effect. Then came the Poultry tournedos, Charente stuffing, Cognac-flavoured gravy sauce and small vegetables, paired with a 2006 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru of Château Faugères, partner of the lunch. This wine of beautiful structure and character perfectly underlined the dish thanks to its finesse, richness and distinction. After the Choux bun filled with truffle-scented cheese, the feast finished with the Crisp Nut Biscuit and peanut ice-cream.
The coffee time was the ideal moment for the start of the traditional producers and sommeliers encounter, each house serving its cognac after lunch, before everyone naturally went to the terrace for precious exchanges of comments.
The company Asserquali, partner of this encounter, had come to present its head caps. Created in 2008 but benefitting from the 25-year-long experience of its staff in stopper manufacturing. It developed an industrial process including control at every stage to guarantee the necessary quality for the perfect containment of spirits.
Wooden, plastic, metal or cork heads, their products have been created to guarantee an excellent stopping. Although the company has been with industrial machines, control and some pasting operations are done manually. The cork comes from Portugal. Its geographical location near Cognac, in the middle of the Grande Champagne area, enables them to be close to their customers, their demands, with a short manufacturing and delivery term.
The afternoon was convivial, warm … typical from the Charente. It finished under the rain but all had their heart warmed up by these moments of privileged exchanges. SommelierS International kindly thanks each of the participants—houses and sommeliers—as well as the team of L'Essille to have contributed to the unanimously praised success of this Special Cognac event. Sylvia Van der Velden
Photo: Thierry Garcia - Studio Thierry Garcia
Video: Michel Akrich - Les Productions de l'Ange
Video of the tasting available on


Philippe FAURE-BRAC, Meilleur Sommelier du Monde

Nelson CHOW, Président des Sommeliers de Hong Kong et de Chine

Association des Sommeliers de Poitou-Charente

Joël SOUPE, président
Laurent FERRON
Frederico KOCIANCIC, vice-président
Xavier LEGRY

Christophe MARTIN
Francis MERLE
Dominique PRUNIER
Jacques SARRAUD,
Stéphane THOMAS
Aurélien VINCENT

Association des Sommeliers de Bordeaux-Aquitaine

Bertrand BIJASSON, président
Charlotte AMICHAUD
Pascal LE POUL
Anne-Sophie PERRIER

Marie-Noëlle DIOSCA, consultante
Thierry PLAZE