Anchor Distilling Company's cognac brand Hine has released a pair of 1987 vintage cognacs, a Jarnac-matured and an Early-Landed.
Hine claims to have initiated the concept of making rarities and vintage cognacs commercially available throughout the world. In each exceptional year, Hine has set aside casks of Grande Champagne eaux-de-vie to mature in the 18th century cellars beneath its offices in Jarnac, or be shipped in cask to the UK and matured as Early-Landed cognac.
The custom of Early-Landed cognac at Hine dates back to the 19th century when casks were first shipped to Bristol, to mature in the unique conditions offered in south-west England. The 1987 Early-Landed was shipped in fine-grained French oak casks to Wickwar, near Bristol, at the end of 1989 to gently develop and mature to perfection in dark, damp cellars.
Bernard Hine recalls: "The winter of 1987 was very cold, it poured with rain after mid-summer making that July one of the wettest on record. In August we heaved a sigh of relief when the sun finally came out and a prolonged very hot, dry period lasted through until the end of September, perfect conditions for ripening the grapes ready for harvest. Our 1987 Jarnac matured has an orange marmalade nose developing into soft spices, vanilla, honey and gingerbread on the plate whilst the 1987 Early-Landed has a delicate nose of lime, citrus fruit and orange blossom with a fresh, citrus palate."
Just like wine, the character and taste of a vintage cognac will depend on terroir, the climate of that particular year, as well as cask and storage conditions during ageing. Hine's vintage cognacs are released at a minimum age of 20 years and are available in very limited quantities.
31 January 2017 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editorial assistant