The ABC of Spirits by Alexandre Vingtier: B for Borderies
B for Borderies
We talk more and more about cognac and its blends but still rarely about single growth cognacs outside the Grande Champagne, recognised as the 1st growth of this appellation since 1938. Forming a plateau to the north-west of the town of Cognac, the Borderies (borders) stretch over 4,000 hectares of vines planted in a clayey-siliceous soil resting on a chalky background, in contrast to the other large terroirs generally calcareous. Undeniably, many cognac enthusiasts are also interested in local eaux-de-vie and often cross paths in the properties of the second smallest growth of the appellation in volume, about 5% of the total production of cognac and only 200 winegrowers, most of whom exclusively supply the major trading houses. Bottles of cognac exclusively from this vintage are therefore very rare.
Two of the five largest houses, Martell and Camus, highlight this terroir even though it is also present in most of the old wines of Courvoisier and Hennessy. The unmissable Camus XO Borderies is the best entry door, recently completed by a VSOP Borderies available in limited series each year. For Martell, we know that a large proportion of Borderies is present in the Cordon Bleu, XO and Chanteloup Perspective cuvees, the brand’s main château, located in this cru, but this house offers a confidential 100% Reserve Borderies very round cuvee and has also begun marketing Domaine de Charbonnière in Asia. One thing to know, Martell imposes a style of distillation with very little or no lees, recycling of the heads and seconds on the wines and not the brouillis and a pouring of the eaux-de-vie at low temperature, thus exacerbating their floral side. Fanny Fougerat’s Iris Poivré XO is a wonderful example, going far beyond traditional violet notes.
Powerful and floral, Borderies eaux-de-vie also often reveal an inimitable candied fruit and dried fruit profile, especially in very old barrels, after several decades. Houses such as Grosperrin, Prunier or Bache Gabrielsen regularly offer old vintages that insiders are tearing up.
So let yourself be tempted by the single vintage cognacs and discover through the Borderies how the blends of the great houses would not have the same charm without its inimitable character!
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.