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Unique artwork for auctioned Hine 1916

Hine Cognac is auctioning its 1916 vintage adorned with an original commissioned work of art. Proceeds of the auction at La Part des Anges 10th anniversary dinner, will be donated to the Apprentices Auteuil Foundation, a charity helping disadvantaged young people. The reserve for the Hine lot is 7,000 euros.

James Viscardi, an American artist, and winner of the Hine Painting Prize at the end of the Masters degree course at The Royal College of Art, London, in 2011 was asked to decorate the bespoke, beech wood presentation box and design the label for Hine's highly prized bottle of 1916 vintage cognac.

Hine's 1916 vintage was made under the challenging circumstances of World War 1, when pesticides and labour were hard to come by. Bernard Hine's grandfather, David Thomas, together with his grandfather's cousin, George Thomas, were running the family firm at this time.

As most able-bodied men were deployed on the frontline of the Somme, it was the women who were left to tend the vines, harvest the grapes, make the wine, distill the eaux-de-vie and bottle Hine's cognacs. The wet winter of 1916 turned into a warm spring, fine August, and a sunny September, ripened the grapes and enhanced the tannins ready for the harvest.

This 1916 Hine Grande Champagne Cognac was matured in oak cask in the ancient cellars beneath Hine's historic family home and headquarters on the banks of the River Charente. The Hine family believe their Grande Champagne cognacs reach optimum maturity at around 50 years old, so at this time transfer them into glass demi-johns, to preserve them in peak condition for the enjoyment of future generations. In the 1960's the remaining contents of Hine's last cask of 1916 vintage were carefully poured into a 5 litre glass demi-john. A few months ago some of the last drops of this precious vintage were bottled by Eric Forget, Hine's estate manager and cellar master. He described the character of this rare cognac as having hints of currents, iris and white peppers on the nose, a subtle opulence of bitter on marmalade on the palate and a lingering long finish of walnuts.

19 September 2016 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editorial assistant