Summer is a time when many of the cognac houses welcome a large amount of visitors, and 2011 is proving to be no exception. Remy Martin Merpins establishment is now open all year round and is now offering a premium tour that concludes with the chance to taste three different cognacs, along with some nibbles, of course.

For 25 euros you can take part in a select tour of only eight people, lasting two hours.  The tour begins in the Remy Martin Francis Cellar – built by the students of Gustave Eiffel.  Here you can see huge portraits of the four cellar masters of the past two centuries that adorn the fermentation tanks.

Remy Martin Visit

You will then continue to enjoy a guided tour of the rest of the establishment, which is made up of several separate buildings and streets before ending up in the private tasting room.  Here you will sip at two VSOP’s and an XO before your tour finally comes to an end.

Delphine Paquet, who is in charge of the tours, says that the visit attracts a lot of foreign visitors.  In 2005, the first year this was offered, they welcomed over 1000 visitors, and the annual number is steadily rising.  Foreigners account for 60% of the visits, and so far this year there has been a significant number of Chinese.

Other cognac houses to visit include Hennessy, who have a program of four different visits and tastings ranging upwards from 9 euros;  Martell – by appointment only from November to March for 7.50 euros;  Otard – which includes visiting the castle of Francois the first (8.50 euros);  Camus – including a tasting of XO (by appointment only out of the summer season); Bache Gabrielsen and Larsen who offer a free tour on weekdays. Of course there are many others like ABK6, and if you’re already there perhaps Le Maine Giraud.

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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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