A Vintage Cognac is also referred to as a Millésime Cognac, meaning it’s a Cognac from a single year and a single harvest. For whisky this is commonly known as “single barrel”. It means exactly the same thing for Cognac – originating from one year, one estate, and one barrel. The difference is that for Cognac, it’s quite uncommon.
Remind me, what is a Vintage Cognac again?
Normally, a Cognac is blended from different eaux-de-vie. Each aged eau-de-vie is a result of that year’s harvest, its weather conditions, and the condition of the grapes. Most Cognacs contain different vintages, sometimes a larger variety, sometimes a smaller one. Blending Cognac is a craft that takes years to learn. A master blender has a highly developed palate and understands how to combine the characters of the different vintages to achieve a particular taste.
In some rare cases, Cognac houses decide to bottle a single vintage without blending it. This is the case when a harvest takes on an especially interesting aroma and body during the aging process. A requirement is that the cask is sealed and dated, and stored separately from the rest of the stock, with a key entrusted to the BNIC. This rigorous control is to ensure that Vintage Cognacs are authentic. What’s important to know is that a vintage, let’s say from the year 1975, is never bottled that year but undergoes a long maturing process in oak barrels. Try to find out what year the vintage was bottled, that will give you a key to knowing how “old” the Cognac actually is. Remember that Cognac doesn’t age once it’s bottled.
Our TOP 10 Best Vintage Cognacs for 2017
Prunier Vintage 1980Buy & Info
Prunier Vintage 1980 is a limited and individually numbered Millésime of only 625 bottles. It was bottles on 2011, which means the eau-de-vie aged in an oak barrel for 31 years, giving it its rich amber color. This Cognac has an unusually high alcohol content of 54.8% as it has never been diluted. If you enjoy mature aromas, this could be a great match.
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Jean Grosperrin Cognac Petite Champagne 1969
A rare vintage, this 1969 Cognac by Jean Grosperrin stems from the Petite Champagne growth area. Grosperrin puts a lot of emphasis on the specificity of different harvests as well as the particular conditions the “terroirs” lend to the grapes’ aroma. This bottle should be enjoyed on a special occasion.
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Chateau de Beaulon XO 1975
This XO Vintage is Cognac distilled and put in oak casks in 1975. Harvested solely a single vineyard in the Fins Bois growth area, this is a Cognac for the true connoisseur. Chateau de Beaulon XO 1975 has been awarded many distinctions and medals over the years. We love the navy blue box the bottle comes in. The design is so effortless and elegant. The Vintage has notes of woodland flowers, a very light acidity gives it vivacity. The finish is of spices, walnut, and dried apricots.
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Ragnaud Sabourin 1989 Vintage Millesime
This 1989 Grande Champagne Vintage is part of the “Collection Millésime”. Ragnaud Sabourin is a prestigious Cognac house with a long tradition in single barrel Cognacs. This is a Cognac of exceptional quality, a joy for any enthusiast.
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Jean Fillioux Vintage 1953 Millésime
With a long-standing family tradition of five generations, Jean Fillioux Cognac creates only the highest quality Cognac. This Cognac was harvested and distilled in 1953 and aged in oak barrels for half a century. The precious vintage has mature aromas of gingerbread, quince confit, and toasted orange zest and comes in a beautifully designed box.
HINE Bonneuil 2005Buy & Info
The youngest vintage in this list, this is a vintage from HINE’s own vineyard, the Domaine de Bonneuil. Bottling a young vintage such as this one means the eau-de-vie must have taken on an interesting character in a very short time. Only a few years of aging in oak barrels – 18 of them to be precise – gave this harvest the perfect notes and aromas, as decided by HINE’s master blender. This 2005 vintage shows that vintages don’t necessarily need to be ancient to be good.
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Park Vintage 1972
1972 was a year with a cold and rainy spring causing the vines to flower later than usual. Then came a dry, hot summer, which allowed a perfectly balanced maturation of the grapes with a high level of acidity. This in turn made for an excellent distillation, resulting in rich eau-de-vie that promised to age extremely well. Park 1972 Vintage is a Petite Champagne Cognac with delicate floral aromas and dominant fruity notes, typical for this growth area. It comes in a leather coated wooden box, a great addition to any collection.
Raymond Ragnaud Grande Champagne 1990
Beautifully packaged in artisanal style and with personal inscriptions, this 1990 Grande Champagne Millésime is a unique bottle that will excite any connoisseur. It was bottled in 2007, after 17 years of aging. Raymond Ragnaud is a family-run Cognac house, which features a series of vintages.
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Leopold Gourmel Petite Champagne 1972
Leopold Gourmel’s Petite Champagne 1972 Vintage was distilled in the year of 1972 and bottled in 2009, which means it was aged for 37 years. It is a pure Petite Champagne Cru, certified – like all Vintage Cognacs – by the BNIC authorities. Each cask was individually numbered, as are the bottles. Leopold Gourmel 1972 Vintage is a rare product, limited to 500 bottles only.
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Claude Thorin 1996 Folle Blanche
We appreciate Claude Thorin Cognac for its authenticity and tradition. Far from being a marketed brand, Claude Thorin is focused on quality above anything else, and their prices are unbeatable. The Vintage 1996 Folle Blanche Cognac is a very rare Cognac in that it is entirely composed of the Folle Blanche grape variety. This grape has been pretty much extinct since the devastating phylloxera crisis that hit the region in the late 1800s, but Claude Thorin are among the few houses that grow this grape today. This Millésime boasts aromas of violet, honeysuckle, and vanilla, offering extraordinary value for money.
Discover all our vintage Cognacs.