Today was our Cognac day. The weather was and has been magnificent and the two visits strikingly different. We started at Babinot, owned by the charming Pierrette and
Christian Babinot, 5th generation owners of a 25000 bottle Cognac producer in the borderies area. This artisanal producer sells half his production to Martell and the rest from the distillery. This is typical for the many small producers; Christian’s friend nearby sells all his production to Hennessey.
What a contrast with our visit to Hennessey, Cognac’s largest producer: over 30 million bottles a year, and they only own vineyards for 2% of their production; the rest they buy from small producers. A polished visit with a video, and a spic and span facility including a short boat ride on the Charante River. Compare that with the cobwebs I had to brush off my hair on Bobinot.
And we had a wonderful lunch at the Moulin de la Baine, a restaurant housed in a former mill on the Charante. Everyone could choose their 4 courses from the menu and here’s what I had: an appetizer plate of smoked trout, foie gras, smoked duck, shrimp, sardines rillettes and paté; followed by escargot casserole; then frogs’ legs; a cheese selection and nougat glacé for dessert, accompanied by two local still Charante wines. No dinner for me tonight!
Cognac is a 90 minute ride north of Bordeaux and worthy of a side visit if you ever get to Bordeaux.