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NEWS / May 2022

At the root of LOUIS XIII blend : The Terroir of Grande Champagne

Breathe. You are in Grande Champagne, the 1st Cru of the Cognac region. A terroir intertwined with people and time and the source of a natural exception.

Breathe. You are in Grande Champagne, the 1st Cru of the Cognac region. A terroir intertwined with people and time and the source of a natural exception. A generous land of oaks and walnuts, truffle trees and orchards. A gentle land of soft winds that blow through the hedgerows to bathe the vines in their fragrance. A welcoming land of rolling hills, peaceful hamlets, mossy groves and grand mansions, and old stone cellars covered in black velvet - the angel’s share. A protected land that carries the imprint of time and tide, nurtured by generations of winegrowers to produce the grapes for LOUIS XIII cognac. Drink in its perfume. Slip a chalky stone in your pocket, a treasure from nature.

A photo of wineyards lit by the sun

A photo of wineyards lit by the sun

THE MOVEMENT OF THE EARTH

Scoop up some soil, just a skosh, there’s infinite life in a handful. See how softly it crumbles? Scratch the surface. The top layer of fine gray clay barely hides the creamy-white strata below. Lend an ear to this earth - to 70 million years of living history. These soils date back to the Late Cretaceous when the earth moved, continents formed and plants flowered in an explosion of varieties.

The same forces that raised the Pyrenees created Grande Champagne. For centuries, the ocean came and went, and each time, layers of shells were left on the seabed. Little by little, they were ground up with the remains of other marine organisms and compacted to create the setting for LOUIS XIII Cognac.

A zoom on small green grapes among green leaves

A zoom on small green grapes among green leaves

THE CARESS OF THE CLIMATE

It’s time. The mist is rising, the hills are beckoning and the vines, rooted in the slopes, are waving their leaves in the breeze as if to welcome you. Pace yourself. Be still for a moment under these shifting skies. Protected from extremes by the ocean to the West and the landmass to the East, you’ll never want to leave. The winters are sharp but short, the summers warm and sweetand spring frostsare rare. It’s a mild and gentle climate that lends itself to viticulture. Grande Champagne has known the vine since Roman times. Its name comes from the latin campania meaning ‘fertile countryside’ and its grapes give wines of extreme finesse. After double distillation on the lees and long aging, they reveal a kaleidoscopic array of aromas and flavors.

THE ROOTS OF THE FUTURE

Follow the roots. Reach down into these chalky soils where the vines source all their energy. Grande Champagne retains water like a soft stone sponge and shares it with the vines whenever necessary. The delicate wines give life to fragrant eaux-de-vie. Only a few are selected by our Cellar Master for aging in traditional oak tierçons. Gradually, they will reveal all the aromatic potential of this terroir –memories of the past and the taste of the future. In 1852, when this terroir was first mapped by geology professor Henri Coquand, its eaux-de-vie were already in the Rémy Martin cellars, patiently waiting to be assembled to create the first LOUIS XIII cognac.

A photo of old barrels in a cave

A photo of old barrels in a cave

A NATURAL EXCEPTION

Picture yourself in the cellars. It’s 1874. It’s a bit cold and misty and you feel close to the forest floor. In the half-light, using a steel pipette, Paul-Emile Rémy Martin, the great-grandson of Rémy Martin is drawing his ultimate Grande Champagne cognac from a tierçon. You place a drop on your lips. He’s going to name it LOUIS XIII after the French king LOUIS XIII who reigned when his family settled here: the first French monarch to recognise cognac as a spirit in its own right. He’s going to house it in exquisite new decanter with a label that says: “VERY OLD GRANDE CHAMPAGNE. AGE UNKNOWN”. Today, it’s a living legacy. Through long-term collaboration with local wine growers, the House of Rémy Martin is preserving this natural exception and the finesse of the eaux-de-vie for the future LOUIS XIII cognac. 

“We are deeply attached to the vine, to wine, to cognac. It’s a passion that was instilled into us by our parents and that’s shared by all our winegrowers. We respect the fragility and the strength of our eaux-de-vie which we draw from Nature and our origins in Grande Champagne have naturally led us to aim for the best possible, the magnificent summum bonum of our time.”

Dominique Hériard Dubreuil, Président of the House of Rémy Martin

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