Unusually all three traditional Cognac grape varieties Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard are still grown on the Tesseron estates. Folle Blanche and Colombard have almost disappeared in the region as they are difficult to grow and produce small crops, but they are important as they add an extra dimension to the final blend.
The grapes are gathered during the long, warm, sunny days of early autumn and fermented to make a low strength, acidic wine of around 8% volume.
The distillation is tightly controlled from the 1st of October through to the 31st of March of the following year. The Tesseron cognacs are double distilled in gleaming copper ‘pot’ stills heated by a naked flame. Only the ‘heart’ of the distillation is selected for maturation into Cognac.
The cool, damp Tesseron cellars dating back to the 13th century were once part of the crypt of the local church. It is here that the young ‘eaux-de-vie’ will be laid to rest, left in peace quietly to age and mature in old oak casks for many years. These casks were made by craftsmen from ancient oaks felled in the nearby forests of Limousin. During maturation the ageing Cognac will gently oxidise, soft tannins will be absorbed from the old oak casks and some will evaporate and be lost forever – the ‘angels’ share.