Finding a great cognac for under $100 is a particular challenge but it’s still just possible. The first cognac in this series of reviews is Chateau de Fontpinot from the illustrious house of Frapin. Fontpinot is distinguished by being allowed to allowed to call itself a Chateau as all of the grapes, distillation and bottling are carried out within the castle.
In all there are 300 hectares of vineyards dedicated to producing grapes for Fontpinot. A multiple award winner Fontpinot stands head and shoulders above its near competitors from the major cognac houses. There have been many reviews of this outstanding cognac not least from Wine Enthusiast who had this to say in 2004:
“Made from estate-grown, chateau-bottled Grande Champagne grapes and eaux-de-vie that are between 15 and 20 years old. Aroma of damp earth, succulent fresh fruit, flowers and spice. Palate entry is off-dry, caramel-like and properly oak; at midpalate, the flavor deepens, offering lip-smacking tastes of light toffee, almond butter and vanilla extract. Finishes candied and rich. Score: 90-95”.
Nothing has changed in the intervening years as Frapin shows astonishing consistency year in, year out.
At Bespoke Dandy we recently conducted a blind tasting against three other contenders where Fontpinot scored consistently in the mid 90’s, a 3 to 4 point lead over its rivals.
Although there is no direct age statement it is generally believed that Fontpinot contains spirits that are at least 25 years of age. Indeed there are traces of port like “Rancio” so characteristic of old cognac.
In our next review we will be tasting and assessing Fontpinot’s near rival: Delamain XO.