Pineau or not Pineau

Pineau or not Pineau ?

A big match between two pineaux des Charentes. But are they both pineau ? Pineau François 1er Grande Réserve vs Grosperrin MMC3

The Pineau des Charentes is a mistelle. A mistelle ? Mistelle is the french word to describe a spirit made of a non-fermented fruit juice and alcohol, most of the time an eau-de-vie.

The Pineau des Charentes is a specific mistelle. It has its own AOC since 1945. The production area is the same as the cognac one. It has to be made with grape must and cognac (or cognac eau-de-vie with at least one year of aging) and these two products must come from the same estate. Then the Pineau des Charentes has to stay for 18 months in oak casks, after what it’s ready to be sold. It could also stay longer. After 5 years in cask, it’s a Vieux Pineau. After 10 years, it’s a Très Vieux Pineau.

Pineau François 1er Grande Réserve 3

Pineau François 1er Grande Réserve

A treasure from Chateauneuf

Pineau François 1er is one of the most famous Pineau  des Charentes producer. So here is the tasting notes of their Grande Réserve, a 19yo pineau des Charentes.

19 year old ? For a pineau ? That’s a golden promise !

Colour : Light brown

Nose : It begins with a dash of camphor and mushroom. It is quite medicinal. Then it becomes fruity and floral. Here is the freshness. Orange zest, violet. It is heady like a strong perfume. Suddenly, with air, it is rounder, something like walnuts cake. A little of apricots marmelade too.

Palate : A full spoon of orange marmelade with all its sugariness and bitterness. Delicate notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. A little of almond paste in the aftertaste. The mouth is very long, you can’ t imagine that a pineau des Charentes could offer this kind of tasting session. 

Last Notes : The air brings us vanilla notes. It is also a bit buttery but very citrusy, focused on grapefruit. Floral scents and aromas. Jasmine waves and heady strawberries. Yummy ! It ends on burnt caramel and licorice sweet (you know the famous brown Krema sweets).

Great structure, well-balanced, mouth rather long. Why buying cognac when you have this kind of pineau ?  

My very subjective note : 87+/100

More info on Pineau François 1er website

Pineau François 1er Grande Réserve
Grosperrin MMC3 3

Grosperrin MMC3

Mistelle, ma belle

When Grosperrin are doing things, they don’t mess with us. So when they decided to make Pineau des Charentes few years ago, they literally thought out of the box. And they did it in a so perfect way that they produced something that can’t be called Pineau des Charentes (It’s a bit more complex, I’ll give some explanations in another review). They called it M.M.C for Moût Muté au Cognac (Grape must mixed with cognac), and they created 3 versions :

  • A 8 year old “pineau” : the MMC1
  • A 25 year old “pineau” : the MMC2
  • A 41 year old “pineau” : the MMC3  (41yo, I can’t believe it)

Here is the MMC3, so get ready for a another really good one ! 

The Tasting Part 

Colour : Burnt caramel, orange lights 

Nose : A great bowl of mushrooms. That’s quite umami. It’s a bit milky and buttery too. It goes on chestnut cream. Wow ! And here is the farm. Hay and wet straw. A bit of bitter chocolate. A dash of yeast and fresh bread. It’s only 17,5% ABV, come on ! How is it possible ?  

Palate : A wave of salt. The stunning sensation of anchovy. Walnut oil. Then it becomes more buttery. I have the strong memories of the walnut pie that my grandmother used to cook. It is also full of salted butter caramel.

That’s the moment when I hope to have a 1,5 liter bottle. That’s not the case. Sh*t ! It goes on cheesy notes, something like Tomme de Savoie. The aftertaste is a gentle mix of acidity (green lemon) and a full plate of fruits (fig jam, candied cherries). 

Last Notes : Still very mushroomy. A delicate rancio appears. It is immediately counter-balanced by hints of orange zest. Then you get a full spoon of tangerine jam. The ending is beautiful. It’s very buttery. The au-revoir let us some dusty walnuts, the one you leave to dry in your cellar, like my grandmother was still doing few years ago. Yes, she learnt me a lot about the good things. 

My very subjective note : 88/100

More info on Grosperrin website

Grosperrin MMC3

I can’t accord a draw, I have to admit that I prefer the MMC3. But it’s very subjective and it’s was a very tight match. 

Finally, that’s two magnificent products made by Pineau François 1er and Grosperrin. Two monsters full of complexity for less than 45€. It has to be a joke, isn’t it ? 

The full notes on the Grosperrin MMC3

The full notes on the Pineau François 1er Vieille Réserve

Cognac Hors d'Age Top 3 tasting notes

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