French Cognac Anyone?

A French Cognac is the perfect conclusion to any fine meal, which is why we chose to taste test at this stopover on our way to visit the vineyards in the Bordeaux Region.

Cognac is a town situated along the river in the Charente region of France.   Famous for it’s delicious brandy, Cognac is a fascinating medieval town with many other interesting attractions.

We wanted to stay in the heart of the old town so as the maximise our emersion into Cognac so we stayed at the amazing  Logis du Saulnier, an elegant and beautiful building on the Charente River. This  was once the home of the Martell family, famous for their own cognac brand.   Now, Logis du Solnier is a Chambre d’hotel or B &B, offering a taste of decadent times gone by.


Logis du Saulnier




The grand stairway to the upper level bedrooms



Stunning medieval architecture in Old Cognac



Initially inspired to visit Cognac to try some of the  famous local beverage ,we were delighted to find that our visit coincided with the Fete du Cognac, a fare held every summer where you can sample cognac based drinks and local food specialties such as oysters, snails, mussels and cheeses.

Cognac has several fetes throughout the summer, one of the most popular being the Cognac Blues Passion, a blues and jazz festival  where artists from around the world perform.


Escargot, Cognac Style

The highlight of our visit for Tom was the visit to the Cognac house, Hennessey.  We joined a tour of the world famous cognac producer and were shown through the production process and given the opportunity to sample some of the Hennessey Cognac at the conclusion of our tour.  We were surprised to hear that the original owner, James Hennessey, was an Irish immigrant to France

Cognac is made by distilling wine  twice to give the cognac its distinctive taste and aroma.

There are many rules in production for a product to be given the Cognac name.  One which is very important is for the product to be distilled for at least 2 years  in wooden barrels which must be made from oak sourced in the Limousin or Auvergne regions of France.    Our French house is located in the Limousin region so that is maybe why Tom feels such a connection to Cognac?  Or perhaps it the Irish heritage of Hennessey?

Cognac is graded according to age

VS – Very Special – at least 2 years of aging in oak barrrels

VSOP   Very Special Old Pale – aged for at least 4 years

XO – Extra Old / Napoleon – at least 6 years of aging

Tasting a few VSOP’s




Hennnessey Cognac House on the banks of the River Charente


For lovers of cognac, we thoroughly recommend a visit to this charming town.   There are many Cognac Houses to allow you to taste and compare their products, such as Hennessey, Martell, Remy Martin and Camus.

If you are travelling through Cognac en route to Bordeaux or other destinations, you can easily see most of the town in one day and still fit in a visit to one of the Cognac houses.


A Bientot, until our next post.