Cognac Park is the premier brand from Distillerie Tessendier, a Cognac house established in 1880. Today, in its fourth generation of family ownership, the distillery and vineyards are composed within an estate of more than 60 acres in the heart of one of the most exclusive growing areas of Cognac: The Borderies. Fourth-generation brothers and Master Blenders, Lilian and Jérôme Tessendier, expertly compose their blends with extreme attention to detail. The wines that are used in the distillation of Cognac Park come from four crus within the Cognac region: Grand Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, and Fins Bois. Each year, the Tessendier family distills its Cognacs from the 3,000 hectoliters of wine produced on its own estate and buys another 40,000 hectoliters from winemakers, maintaining relationships that span several generations.
The soil in each terroir is unique due to features like organic matter, mineral composition, grade, and drainage, that were impacted by geological episodes. It is the earth that nourishes the vines and gives life to the grapes. Because the soils are so different, so are the grapes that grow there and therefore the wine they produce.
The Cognac region is commonly referred to as 'softly tempered,' with ample amounts of sunlight and sufficient rain, and an average annual temperature of 13.5°C (55°F). This microclimate, combined with the special soil, is considered ideal for high quality spirit-producing wines.
The French geologist Henri Coquand first described the soil features of the six crus or terroirs in 1860. The Tessendier Distillery's vineyards are located in Borderies, but they work with grape growers in three other crus for the production of their wines.
Clay-like, chalky, thin soils on top of soft chalk formed during the Cretaceous period. The limestone content from the surface down is said to be in excess of 60% in some places. Montmorillonite clay provides fertile soil with good structure and a high water reserve. This cru produces lighter, floral cognacs that require long aging in casks to achieve full maturity, often reaching their full potential after decades.
It is generally regarded that the cognacs from Petite Champagne have equal potential as those from Grande Champagne but with a touch less finesse. With similar soil conditions to Grand Champagne, vine roots can penetrate more than 20 metres through the chalk, and the subsoil acts as a giant sponge through which water slowly rises during prolonged dry periods.
The soil in the Borderies cru is composed of more clay and flint. These cognacs are generally nuttier and often have toffee flavors with tones of violets on the nose. They age somewhat quicker than those from the two Champagnes and can often be at their optimum quality in as little as 30 - 40 years.
Fins Bois effectively surrounds the Champagnes and Borderies. Most of this area is covered by clay and chalk soils (known as groies) that are similar to the Champagnes. Lying in a lower area known as the Pays Bas, north of Cognac, the soil is heavy, 60% clay, leftover from the Jurassic period. Fins Bois soil also has a high sandy content. Vines are often dispersed, mixed with other crops and surrounded by forests of pine and chestnut. Modern, high volume cognac blends often contain substantial quantities of eaude-vie from Fins Bois.
Vines are often dispersed, mixed with other crops and surrounded by forests of pine and chestnut. Like Fins Bois, the soil in Bons Bois is made up of heavy, clayey, chalky soil. The soil on the coast and in several valleys has eroded from the Massif Central and is sandy, especially in the southern vineyards. Modern cognac blends contain substantial quantities of Fins Bois and even some Bons Bois can be found in the bigger blends.
Regarded as the lowest cru of the Cognac region. Here, the soil is almost exclusively sandy in an area that lies along the coast or on the islands of Ré and Oléron. The wine produces fast-aging eaux-de-vie with a characteristic maritime aroma and flavor profile. Much of the eaux-de-vie from these lands is used for blending in fruit liqueurs; the cognacs are unspectacular.
Wine Enthusuast, 90 Points, Best Buy 2017
Wine Enthusuast, 98 Points, Top 100 Spirits of 2015
Wine Enthusuast, 93 Points, Top 100 Spirits of 2019
Wine Enthusuast, 93 Points, 2019
Wine Enthusuast, 96 Points, 2020
Wine Enthusiast, Top 100 Spirits, 2020
Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017
Wine Enthusuast, 90 Points, Very Strong Recommendation 2017