The Peyrat family has been producing Cognac since the turn of the century. Philippe Peyrat pursued an active career on the Bordeaux export market until about seven years ago, when he decided to join his brother Henri and return to the family business, founded by his grandfather.
Estate-grown Cognac is a rarity, and vintage-dated Cognac is even more of a rarity. The reason is that most Cognac distillers buy grapes from farmers in the best growing areas (Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, and Borderies), and do not have vineyards themselves. Another reason why there is so little vintage-dated Cognac is that for centuries, many Cognacs left the region in cask to be bottled elsewhere. Once outside the region, and after being topped up with younger spirits as it evaporated in cask, it became almost impossible to verify their integrity. This explains why most major Cognac firms prefer to mix their spirits and market them as XO and Hors d’Age, retaining the vintages as valuable components for blending.
The Peyrats have taken a different approach. Their small firm deals with miniature lots of estate-grown, single vineyard Cognacs, some of them stored in glass demijohns to preserve their freshness. Working with master blender Stéphane Burnez, who also crafts Cognacs for the Prunier firm, they have put together a library of rare Cognacs with a complexity and originality that sets them apart. All are unblended products of a uniquely different estate, and since the vintages are distilled at the property, they are totally authentic.
Each estate is identified by its own name, in addition to the township in which it lies. Le Chaigne and Lafont de St. Preuil are both estates in the township of St. Preuil, in the Grande Champagne growing area, noted for its traditional style. La Chambre, also in Grande Champagne, lies in Verrières and is prized for its fruit and delicacy. The Negre Bois, in Petite Champagne, is located in Archaic and tends to be more subtle. L’Hermitage in Borderies, the Chateau de Triac in Fins Bois, and Domaine des Forges in Bons Bois complete this roster of single vineyard Cognacs. Most of them have been in continuous production since the 19th century, and make an unforgettable statement about Cognac.