Conscious of the importance of perpetuating the age-old family tradition Patrick Drouet adheres to a strict quality control system to ensure that the high standards are maintained throughout the various stages in the viticulture and vinification process.
Patrick realises that even with all of the technical help that modern equipment can bring he can still count on the extra experience and expertise of his father who, although now officially retired, Patrick describes him as “L’âme du domaine, le gardien du temple” which roughly translated means that he is both the soul of the domain as well as the guardian of the family temple.
This philosophy is typical of the way in which many of the smaller Cognac growers view their product; the Cognac is not just something that happens after various processes have been completed - it is a product with its own soul and character. It is something that has to be nurtured; something to be cared for over the generations in order to produce the fabulous elixir which is so much more than just a collection of Eaux-de-Vie.
The local soil is limestone, as is typical of the Grande Champagne region; Patrick uses mostly the Ugni Blanc grape but mixes this with 7% Colombard for added complexity. The grapes are gently pressed and fermented in vats until an alcoholic strength of only 8% to 9% is achieved. The best Cognac is made from low alcoholic strength, slightly acidic wine.
Double distillation follows and then the Eau-de-Vie is transferred to new Tronçais or Limousin barrels for the first 12 months after distillation, during which time it acquires a golden yellow to rich brown colour whilst it also extracts as much tannin as possible from the oak. It is then placed in older barrels, known as “roux” where the maturing process continues at a more relaxed rate.