Cognac, the Spirit of a Region

Cognac, in Southwest France, is a surprisingly large region north and east of Bordeaux but, unlike Bordeaux, the grapes grown there make poor wine. However, and it is a big however, those poor wines, when distilled, make an extraordinary spirit, and that spirit, bearing the name of the region, is universally considered the greatest of all brandies.

The Cognac region is a place of beauty and no small amount of mystery as these wines are turned into a long-lived spirit that is the stuff of legend. In these photographs, we tour the region and the cellars that are known around the world. And, we tour the hidden corners of some of those cellars that are much less well known outside the industry. These nooks are where the oldest and most prized Cognac spirits are kept and they are appropriately named Paradis, paradise.

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These photographs were all taken during a week in Cognac in September, 2014