Raymond Ragnaud Pineau des Charentes (750ml)
There are a number of Vins de Liqueurs (aka 'mistelles') produced around France. These sweet to semi-sweet wines made with unfermented grape must and fortified with the brandy of the given region are often little known outside their place of origin. As with many liqueurs and spirits, their beginnings are murky. Where Pineau des Charentes is concerned, Cognac legend has it that it was created by accident centuries ago when a farmer dumped grape must into a barrel that contained eau de vie. He later he found the blend to be delicious. Word spread and Pineau des Charentes became a local specialty. Raymond Ragnaud is one producer who proudly continues the category. The family has grown grapes since 1860; in 1920, Paul Ragnaud settled at the Château de Ambleville. He was succeeded in 1941 by his son Raymond who oversaw the vineyards and began to market the cognacs he had inherited. Francoise Ragnaud-Bricq, has carried the family tradition of producing high quality cognac and Pineau des Charentes. Combining two-thirds unfermented grape must with one-third young cognac - the alcohol prevents fermentation - the mixture is aged for various periods of time, but at least twelve months, depending on the desired style. Over that time it picks up its distinctive aromas and flavours. These include semi-sweet notes of fresh apricot, figs, vanilla, honey, fruit nectar, almond and spice. Typically arriving at around 17% ABV and consumed chilled, this classic French aperitif can also be incorporated into cocktails or thickening sauces. 17% Alc./Vol.