Normandin-Mercier Pineau des Charentes "Trés Vieux" Blue Label
Prepare yourself for one of France's most elusive and rare aperitifs: Pineau des Charentes.
Contrary to its name, it has nothing to do with Pinot Noir. Rather, this is a fortified wine from the Charentes region, of which Cognac is a part. The drink begins with fresh grape juice, blended with a local Cognac.
Normandin-Mercier's version stands apart in this ultra-rare "Trés Vieux" ("very old") Blue Label bottling. Edouard Normandin takes the finest fresh juice and adds his finest 15-year-old Vieille Fine Cognac to the blend, barrels it and ages it for an astounding further five years. The flavors marry slowly and naturally, producing a Pineau rich in flavors of baked apricot, dried thyme, almond, and brioche. The finish is lightly sweet, with wonderfully developed savory flavors from its mind-blowing two-decade journey.
This is a true vin de méditation – while lesser Pineaux can be used in cocktails and mixed drinks, an aperitif of this caliber should be thoughtfully sipped lightly chilled, either straight up or over one large cube.
As the esteemed U.S. importer of this wine recommends, "It shows its strength with hard aged cheeses, baked fruit tarts, and duck liver terrines."
Fewer than 100 hand-filled bottles of this rarity were imported into the U.S. It's the perfect gift for the wine geek who has everything, or to stock up your larder for fall and winter ahead. If you can find it elsewhere, you'll pay upwards of $55/bottle plus shipping. Our gift to you at $49 plus free shipping on three.
ABOUT THE ESTATE
Normandin-Mercier is a family-run estate for nearly 150 years, privately owned with no corporate influence, based in the port town of La Rochelle just outside of Cognac. They are known for their ultra-small production Cognac and Pineau des Charentes. Everything is done by hand, down to the filling, labelling, and sealing of the bottles. A little-known fact about Cognac is that many can be legally adulterated with what's called boisé: the addition of wood chips, caramel color, sugar, and inferior brandy to deepen color and hasten the process. This never happens at Normandin-Mercier. Everything is done slowly, the old fashioned way. It is more labor and time-intensive but ultimately worth it. A true artisanal estate of the highest quality throughout.