Cognac’s hinterland beyond XO is one of great variation, but with the common thread of aged eaux-de-vie that have often spent many decades in cask. These are highly sought-after Cognacs for the top end of the market, characterised by that almost indefinable ‘rancio’ character that only comes with great age.
Vintages also inhabit this part of the market, but not always. These are Cognacs that run counter to the dominant local technique of blending, expressing the character of an individual harvest in a way that is reminiscent of fine wine.
The first Domaines Hine vintage bottling (2005) was unveiled in 2014, and the 2008 release is the third in the series (2010 is being launched at the time of writing). The aim here is to express the character of Hine’s vineyard in Bonneuil and the vintage, with little interference in terms of manipulation or marked oak influence, and an earlier time of release than is usual for Grande Champagne.
Serving Suggestions: Great served neat and cellar-cool. Even better if you can snag the other vintages and try them all together.
A vertical tasting of Domaines Hine releases (2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010) shows the remarkable differences they have to offer. The 2008 vintage is perhaps the most individual release, with an unusual but very attractive red fruit aroma (redcurrant, wild strawberry) accompanying great breadth and suppleness. The finish offers seductively sweet cherry slathered in cream.