Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cognac Navarre Vieille Reserve

Navarre is a small grower/producer from the Grand Champagne region of Cognac. They harvest grapes by hand, which is unusual in this day and age and don't use additives of any sort. The Vieille Reserve is made from 100% Ugni Blanc grapes and bottled at cask strength. The vatting includes brandies as much as 50 years old.

Navarre Vieille Reserve Cognac, 45% abv ($200)

The nose on this is fantastic with rich, dry wine, green grapes, wood, earthy notes and some raisins.  The palate starts with dry wine, transitions to a somewhat bitter, oaky, earthiness, then recovers with spicy, peppery and then earthy notes.  The finish is spicy and a bit bitter with table grapes.

I'm normally quite sensitive to bitterness, but the bitter notes in this Cognac work to complement the spirit, almost like in an Italian bitter like Campari.  Between those notes, the grape and the oak, there's a level of complexity that makes this really interesting.  It's one of those that continues to reveal itself with each taste.

This is a wonderful and intriguing Cognac.  It's old and rare but seems to be available at a number of major US retailers.  If it's in your price range and you are a fan of edgier Cognac, I would definitely pick it up.

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