Drink This Now: Grower Cognac
Savvy sommeliers are seeking out these artisanal and affordable brandies.
You may be familiar with “farmer fizz,” relatively small-batch Champagnes produced, bottled and sold by the grape growers. Now, get ready for grower Cognacs.
Although still a relatively small movement, savvy sommeliers are seeking out these artisanal brandies because they’re not only rich in tradition and terroir, they’re often—surprisingly—far more affordable than the big-name brands.
“It’s the equivalent of farm-to-table food, but for top-shelf Cognac,” says Jason Wagner, sommelier at Chicago’s The Gage and Henri. “You’re tasting an agricultural, rather than a manufactured, product, and it comes across in the flavor,” he says. “It’s closer to wine in complexity, versus the bigger houses.”
“Cognacs sourced directly from the farmers are extremely site specific,” says John Mitchell, sommelier and wine director at Stella! in New Orleans. “Plus, it’s a great way to tell the story of these small producers, who love giving back to the earth and making a superior product.”
So enamored of these small-batch Cognacs, Mitchell now only stocks grower-made labels on his list.
Six Tasty Artisanal Cognacs To Try
1. Dudognon Reserve Cognac
abv: 42% Price: $45
2. Grateaud Cognac Bouquet des Borderies
abv: 40% Price: $50
3. Février Cognac Fins Bois Réserve Familiale
abv: 40% Price: $170
4. Guillon Painturaud VSOP Grande Champagne
abv: 40% Price: $55
5. Paul Beau Hors d’Age Cognac Grande Champagne
abv: 42% Price: $110
6. Jacky Navarre Vieille Réserve Grande Champagne
abv: 45% Price: $220
*1–3 imported by Michael Skurnik Wines; 4–6 imported by PM Spirits