Martell, the oldest of the great Cognac Houses, was founded in 1715 by 21-year old Englishman Jean Martell. His commitment to excellence is jealously guarded by Martell Cognac’s new cellar master Christophe Valtaud, who shares his two top tips for enjoying cognac to the fullest.
“Cognac is traditionally enjoyed as either an apéritif or digestif. I say cast aside the rules and drink it as you like! Neat, paired with a cigar, ice it down, or mix it into a cocktail, however the mood dictates.
A great way to release the aromas of the cognac before you drink it is to warm the glass in the palm of your hand, before you take the first sip. It opens up the cognac, for a rewarding tasting experience.“
We chatted to refined young Frenchman Alexis Rigaud, the South African Brand Ambassador for Martell Cognac, who epitomizes Martell’s exuberant and indulgent approach to living life, and is a true bastion of the modern French Art de Vivre lifestyle that is the hallmark of Martell Cognac. During his fascinating childhood he has lived in three different countries. Born in Bayonne, the capital of the French Basque Country, he was raised in Bordeaux, Greece and Austria, and this has played an intrinsic role in shaping his view of the world. He brings a global perspective to his role as Martell Cognac’s brand ambassador, having also travelled to 20 other countries during his life.
We asked him to share his expertise and insight into cognac and the Martell Cognac range with us.
Q: How should Cognac best be drunk?
“Cognac can be drunk anywhere and in a variety of ways – neat, with ice or diluted with a little water. Warming cognac brings out the alcohol too strongly and releases the aromas too quickly.”
MARTELL COGNAC MAKING STRIDES IN SOUTH AFRICA, PLUS STAND A CHANCE TO WALK AWAY WITH THREE BOTTLES OF MARTELL CARACTERE
Q: Tell us a little about the distinctive colour of Cognac
“The amber color of cognac is one of its distinctive characteristics. Through the joint qualities of the copper in which it is distilled and the expertise of the cellar master, the cognac gradually acquires its characteristic color. And it comes in an endless number of hues.”
Q: Why is the unique Terroir of the grapes used for Martell Cognac so important?
“Martell cognac is produced from grapes grown in the four main terroirs in the grape-growing region of Cognac. The unique terroir of the Les Borderiescrus (vineyard areas) gives the fine Martell cognacs their hallmark elegance and subtlety. The Ugni Blanc grapes that grow here give the eaux-de-vie distinctive floral aromas and an exceptional smoothness.”
Q: Martell is the world’s number 1 prestige cognac house. What distinguishes the fine Martell cognacs from other cognacs across the globe?
“Martell is the world’s number 1 prestige cognac house and the only great cognac house to distil only clear wines – where all sediments and impurities have been removed – to produce exceptionally fine and pureeaux-de-vie.
The cognac is aged exclusively in barrels made of soft, fine-grain oak to encourage soft, well-balanced aromas. Barrels are lightly toasted (burnt) to help release the complex flavours within the oak.
During blending the Cellar Master is presented with a complex palette of flavours from which he must perfectly construct the personality of each cognac expression. Like a singular note in a complex symphony, the Cellar Master must know how to introduce and combine each tone to create a perfect harmony.“
Stokvel Talk and Martell Cognac are giving away 3 bottles of the Martell Caractere to a lucky reader.
To stand a chance of winning, answer the simply question below:
What is the name of Martell’s Founder?
When was the House of Martell Founded?
Send your answer, name and contact details to email@example.com
The competition closes on 09 December 2016 and winners will be informed telephonically on 12 December .
Terms and Conditions apply.