Cognac tasting tours
Cognac tasting tours in and around Cognac
Cognac tasting tours: For visitors to Poitou-Charentes a must-do is a cognac tour or cognac-tasting tour around one of the famous firms or ‘maisons’ as they are called (see below). And of course to have a taste of cognac at the same time!
We would also recommend a visit to one of the many excellent small local producers that can be found through the cognac area. Many speak English, and while summer is the peak period for public visits, there are those that are open all year round. The tourist offices in the cognac areas will have a booklet called ‘Les Bonness Adresses du Cognac’ which is a detailed list of those offering tours, with information on whether they speak English.
For more on the history of cognac, head to the Musée des Arts du cognac (Maco) in Cognac which does its bit for the local industry that made the town famous – and wealthy – by housing a permanent exhibition on the history of the drink and how it’s made.
If you’re looking to buy, then browse at the 400-strong selection on offer at Cognathèque, also in Cognac.
Did you know…?
Down by the river in the town of Cognac are the blackened chais (warehouses) that still store barrels of cognac. Their blackened state is caused by the alcohol evaporating into the surrounding air. Rather poetically, the locals describe this alcohol that has escaped the barrel as ‘the angels’ share’. The cause of the blackened walls, however, is nothing to do with heavenly hosts; the culprit is a tiny fungus that thrives in the alcohol-laden atmosphere!
Cognac tasting tours: THE GREAT COGNAC HOUSES
Makers of cognac since 1853.
Address: 29, rue Marguerite-de-Navarre, 16100
Tel: 05 45 32 72 96.
Visits: May – September
Not in Cognac, but nearby and known for being the home of ‘Napoleon’s cognac’. It has a variety of tours.
Address: 2 place du Château, 16200 Jarnac
Visits from April – October
The oldest of the cognac houses, founded in 1715.
Address: Place Edouard Martell, 16100
Visits: April – October
Tel: 05 45 36 33 33.
The cognac brand that began in the 19th century and which has historic ties to Russia.
Address: 26 rue Pascal Combeau 16100 Cognac; parking in 7 rue François Porché 16100 Cognac
Visits: all year round
Tel: 05 45 82 32 10
Situated in the château that was the birthplace of King François I.
Address: Château de Cognac – 127, boulevard Denfert-Rochereau, 16100 Cognac.
Visits: April – October
Tel: 05 45 36 88 86
A variety of tours including by train through the vineyard.
Address: Le Domaine Rémy Martin, Avenue de Gimeux, 16100 Merpins
Visits: from mid-April – end of September
Tel: 05 45 35 76 66
Cognac Tasting Tour
Travel agency organising English-speaking tours of cognac houses that can include speciality meals, river cruises, golf and more…
Address: Lieu-dit Chez Rivière, 16130 Saint Preuil
Tel: 05 45 80 80 38
A permanent exhibition devoted to cognac where you can see and buy 450 different cognacs as well as 50 types of pineau.
Address: 8 place Jean-Monnet, Cognac, is open every day 9am to 7pm, admission free.
Tel: 05 45 82 43 31
Musée des Arts du cognac (Maco)
It has a permanent exhibition that charts the history, the techniques and the economic impact of cognac.
Situated in rue des Remparts, place Salle verte in Cognac.
The museum is open every day from 10am to 6.30pm until September. Tel: 05 45 36 21 10
Les Bonnes Chauffes
Cognac tasting tours: Each year, during the months of December to February winegrowers and distillers throw open their doors to visitors over the weekend for free distillery visits plus tastings of cognac and of pineau. A number of restaurants also get involved with menus based on local products and of course cognac and pineau – some also put on musical events to create a real feeling of fun and festivity.
For a full list of participating growers and their opening hours, and participating restaurants see www.cognacetapes.com