Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Navarre Pineau des Charentes Vieux

Pineau des Charentes is a fortified wine made by adding Cognac to grape juice.  I was first introduced to it by Nicholas Palazzi's Paul-Marie Fils Pineau des Charentes which uses aged Cognac as opposed to the typical unaged eau de vie.

I very much enjoyed the Cognac I tried from Navarre, so I was excited to see they had a Pineau  on the market. Like the Paul-Marie Fils, the Navarre Pineau uses aged Cognac.  A six year old, 1982 Cognac was added to the wine.  The Pineau was then aged an additional 30 years and bottled in 2012.

Navarre Pineau des Charentes Vieux, 17% abv ($70)

This Pineau has some fantastic, complex flavors with heavy sweet syrupy notes rushing in first, followed by the aged Cognac with its earthy notes.  The flavor combination works well, but it's far too sweet for me to take it neat, cutting it is a necessity.

Mixing one part Pineau with two parts club soda makes about the best spritzer I've ever tasted.  The two to one ratio mellows the sweetness without compromising any of the earthy qualities.  It's insanely refreshing and very light, the perfect drink for a summer afternoon.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for talking about PdC...amazing stuff. Makes great Manhattan variants - though you need to add a proportional amount of bitters/amaro/Campari to keep the sugar in check...


sku said...

Do you use it in place of the vermouth in Manhattans? I could see that working.

Anonymous said...

Yes...hadn't done it in a while so I tried two:

Batch 1

2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 oz Pineau des Charentes (Pierre Ferrand)
.5 oz Carpano Antica
2 dashes Fye Bros. Bitters

Pretty good...a little flat, but unique.

Batch 2

2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1.5 oz Pineau des Charentes
.5 oz Campari

Fabulous...really nice - a vegetal, spicy Red Hook



tanstaafl2 said...

Sounds like a pretty special bottling of PdC! The use of aged cognac aside, 30 years in the barrel is pretty remarkable. Tracking PdC down, much less other types on Vins de Liqueurs, in my area can be challenging. PdC seems to have recently dried up locally but I did get some Macvin brought in by request and Vilmart Ratafia just showed up recently out of the blue. Beggars can't be too choosy I suppose!

Do you have any idea if this Navarre is a one off that I should track down now or something this house is likely to do going forward?

NP said...

Sku- thanks for that. There is definitely a little sugar in this stuff. I have not had it analyzed but I would not be surprised to see something well above 220g/l. Now the good thing is, since Ugni Blanc does not ripen well in the Cognac area there is plenty of acid to balance out the sugar. But yeah, it's a Sauternes-like sweet stuff.

Annon - Batch 2 sound killer to me. Gonna have to try it. A friend in TX introduced me to the idea of 1oz PdC, 2 oz Rye a month ago. It has been a revelation.

Tanstaafl2 - The Navarre Vieux PdC is not a one off but there is not a ton around. A few six packs here and there. Old PdC is not that easy to make. But it should be around on a somewhat steady basis.