Jacques Esteve's property is unassuming. It blends into the rest of the small village where both his home and distillery reside. Sitting on the border of Petit Champagne and Grand Champagne, divided by only a small river, his grapes grow in a very mineral, limestone-rich soil, making his base wine very similar to the GC profile: high-acid, low-alcohol, full-flavor.

While much of his yearly production is sold to big house blenders like Hennessy, Bavard keeps a few casks back each year for his own private label, which we choose from when we visit his estate. We've carried a number of reserve Cognacs from Esteve over the years, all of which have tremendous richness and a decadent flavor of dark cocoa and caramel.