On the Trail

MICHEL FORGERON

Michel Forgeron is a Grand Champagne Cognac producer that we're very excited to be working with. He represents the first distiller we've met in the Charente who is interested in maturing his brandy more like the Scottish mature their whisky. Part of the reason Cognac never achieves that rich, spicy, assertive character is because the French love topping up their barrels to prevent evaporation. While that practice does help in the hopeless fight against the angels, it does so at the expense of concentration. That being the case, you'd think it was just a matter of time before cask strength, single barrel, and age statement labeling infiltrated the world of French brandy. You'd be right to think that, because it's beginning to happen. Michel Forgeron is already selling vintage-dated, cask strength, single barrel releases in his gift shop. We were hoping to extend the reach of that gift shop to California when we visited him this past Spring.

"Most Cognac producers don't even drink Cognac," he said with a snarl. "They do it because they were born into it. They don't even like Cognac, most of them."

Michel is not afraid to piss people off. We love this guy.