THE COGNAC REGION

Cognac is a product with a Protective Designation of Origin (or PDO) which guarantees its origin and authenticity. It comes from the Cognac region of Western France and has a precise framework that is controlled by law.

The Cognac region stretches over 75 000 hectares, around the River Charente, and benefits from a maritime climate (warm summers and mild winters). Its vineyards are divided into six sub-regions; Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fin Bois, Bon Bois and Bois Ordinaires. These sub-regions are differentiated by the respective characteristics of their products based on the composition of the soils.

Cognac’s premier sub-region is Grande Champagne. Its hillsides offer the best exposure and promote perfect grape maturity. The soils are composed of friable limestone and chalk that help regulate humidity and temperature whilst providing good drainage. Eaux-de-vies from Grande Champagne have elegant, floral bouquets and are ideal for long ageing.

Carte des crus Cognac

Frapin : Single Family Estate, 100% Grande Champagne

AN EXCEPTIONAL TERROIR

Frapin’s single family estate includes 240 hectares of vines in the heart of Grande Champagne, the premier cru of cognac. In the middle of the estate lies an elegant 18th century property called Château Fontpinot. Cognac Frapin is the only cognac house in Grande Champagne that can be called Château.

AN EXCEPTIONAL TERROIR

Frapin’s single family estate includes 240 hectares of vines in the heart of Grande Champagne, the premier cru of cognac. In the middle of the estate lies an elegant 18th century property called Château Fontpinot. Cognac Frapin is the only cognac house in Grande Champagne that can be called Château.

We grow a grape variety commonly called Ugni Blanc to produce our cognacs. This grape variety has the advantage of being late ripening, having low alcohol levels (which give better aromatic concentration) and high acidity levels. These acidity levels help to protect the wine until the distillation.

Frapin cognacs come exclusively from grapes grown on our estate.

cepages vignobles cognac Frapin
Vinification vignobles cognac Frapin

MASTERY OF THE VINEYARD, BEGINNING OF OUR STORY

At Frapin, we have been cultivating vines for 21 generations. Between tradition and modernity, the techniques used by our vineyard manager aim to obtain healthy grapes harvested at optimum maturity. Once harvested and pressed the juice obtained is fermented in our vats. This is the winemaking process or vinification which we adapt to meet Frapin’s requirements for wines that will release their full aromas during distillation.

ARTISANAL DISTILLATIONBY TASTING

Frapin’s Charente wines are transformed into exceptional cognacs by our master distillers.  We distil on lees because we believe it brings more interesting flavours to our cognacs. The lees are dead yeast cells, left over from fermentation, that are placed within the still.

At Frapin master distillers control distillation which takes place in our six copper stills of 25 hectolitre Stills.  The wine is heated by the boiler which causes the alcohol to evaporate and rise up through the swan neck. It then passes through the a coiled pipe, which is cooled with cold water, and condenses creating an impure alcoholic liquid, at 30 to 32 degrees alcohol by volume, known as brouillis. The brouillis is distilled for a second time creating the bonne chauffe. Produced by double distillation, cognac is the very soul of the wine from which it came. The master distiller takes the heart of the bonne chauffe concentrating the delicate aromas and flavours into a colourless eau-de-vie which is now 71 degrees alcohol by volume.

ARTISANAL DISTILLATIONBY TASTING

Frapin’s Charente wines are transformed into exceptional cognacs by our master distillers.  We distil on lees because we believe it brings more interesting flavours to our cognacs. The lees are dead yeast cells, left over from fermentation, that are placed within the still.

At Frapin master distillers, not computers, control distillation which takes place in our six copper stills of 25 hectolitre Stills.  The wine is heated by the boiler which causes the alcohol to evaporate and rise up through the swan neck. It then passes through the a coiled pipe, which is cooled with cold water, and condenses creating an impure alcoholic liquid, at 30 to 32 degrees alcohol by volume, known as brouillis. The brouillis is distilled for a second time creating the bonne chauffe. Produced by double distillation, cognac is the very soul of the wine from which it came. The master distiller takes the heart of the bonne chauffe concentrating the delicate aromas and flavours into a colourless eau-de-vie which is now 71 degrees alcohol by volume.

vieillissement chais cognac Frapin

AGEING: THE WORK OF SEVERAL GENERATIONS

Two factors have an impact on the ageing of our cognac; the wood of our barrels and the cellars in which they are stored.

Aging by wood:

Our cognacs are aged in Limousin oak barrels. It is the wood that gives cognac its warm colour by releasing tannins when in contact with the eaux-de-vie. We use three types of barrels. The first are new barrels which quickly transmit colour and aromas to the cognac. After a short time our cellar master will move cognacs to older barrels which we call roux.  These barrels have less impact and we leave the cognacs here for longer and monitor their evolution. Ageing ends in century old casks that no longer provide no colour or aroma to the cognac. Instead they allow the ageing process to progress through oxidation and evaporation; the angel’s share.

Aging in the cellars:

Our barrels are stored in different cellars around the estate according to their individual characteristics.  Our cellar master is responsible for selecting and changing the position of each barrel overtime according to the ageing conditions sought for each. He can place them in one of two categories of cellars.

Humid cellars are at ground level on clay floors where the humid atmosphere allows moderate evaporation from the barrels bringing roundness and suppleness to the cognac. Dry cellars are upstairs in the attics where low humidity leads to more rapid evaporation and brings additional delicacy and elegance to our cognacs.

Grande Champagne cognacs need time to express their exceptional aromas. This is why we age our cognacs for longer.

chais humides vieillissement cognac Frapin
chais humides vieillissement cognac Frapin
assemblage cognac Frapin

Blending

The last step before bottling, blending, is crucial for the cellar master. As a true artist, he must assemble each blend selecting from the palette of eaux-de-vies available to him in order to obtain consistency of quality and character. The goal is to keep Frapin’s style year after year. A true blend of rigour, intuition and experience.

From the cultivation of its vines located in Grande Champagne, through artisanal winemaking and distillation over lees, then ageing in century old humid or dry cellars, everything is brought together to guarantee the continuity of the Frapin style.

This quality and experience are rewarded each year with prizes and medals at international competitions.