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Visiting Hine Cognac in Jarnac

9 September 2012 5 Comments

A few weeks ago I was invited by Hine to visit them in Jarnac, France. Founded by Thomas Hine, they are beautifully located at the Quai de l’Orangerie on the banks of the Charente River. The building is beautiful from the in- and outside with a beautiful garden.

First we went to the beautiful cellars behind their building in Jarnac, where Hine ages some of their Cognacs. They really got some beautiful barrels, all made from Tronçais and Limousin oak.

Some Cognacs from over the 100 years can be found in their “Paradis”, these Cognacs are being kept in demijohn’s (dame jeanne’s).

The building of Hine from the inside is very style-full, with lime-green wall’s for example, but also very classy, as it should be with a company which received the Royal Warrant by Queen Elizabeth II… Did you know Hine made a wedding Cognac for Prince Charles and Diana back in 1981? It was bottled and auctioned last year for a charity.

Let’s proceed to the tastings, we tasted 13 different Cognacs as listed below. Unfortunately with tasting this much you cannot remember the exact tasting notes days after tasting. Therefore I will give my short remembered opinion / review…

H by Hine: blend of 20 Petite Champagne Cognacs, the youngest is 4 years old. Great supple and affordable Cognac. Very floral. VSOP-quality.

Hine Rare VSOP: One step above the H by Hine. More delicate and offered in a beautiful carafe.

Hine Homage: Homage is a unique blend of Early Landed vintage cognacs matured in the United Kingdom and extra old cognacs aged in HINE’s cellars in Jarnac.

Hine Antique XO Grande Champagne: the successor of the Hine Antique XO Fine Champagne listed below. Complex and rich Cognac.

Hine Antique XO Fine Champagne: one of my favorite Cognacs.

Hine Triomphe  Triomphe: an exceptional blend of over 50 selected rare cognacs, coming exclusively from the Grande Champagne district.

Hine Vintage 1975 Early Landed: exotic fruit with some nutty flavour. Aged in Bristol (United Kingdom)

Hine Vintage 1975: a lot more tannin’s and spices compared to the Early Landed. Significant difference. Aged in Jarnac (France)

Hine Vintage 1987: 1987 was a cold year with not much sun and with an important rainfall in July. This 1987 Grande Champagne is very delicate on the nose with hints of lime and mushroom followed by honey and vanilla. My preference over the 1988 vintage.

Hine Vintage 1988: The quality of this great vintage is due to the exceptional weather conditions. During the year, the temperature was mild but with a lot of sun from June to October and very little rain during the same period. This gave the best conditions for a perfect and optimal maturation. The 1988 vintage is very well balanced, rich in aromas and very soft, with a hint of rare citrus notes. Certainly one of the best vintages of the last century.

Hine Cigar Reserve: this blend was created in 1996 by Bernard HINE and Nicholas Freeman, the late chairman of UK Havana importers Hunters & Frankau. Compared to the other Hine Cognac’s this is their onliest Cognac partially made of Fins Bois Cognac.

The comparison between a early landed Cognac and a “Jarnac” Cognac was great, they difference was huge! Which that more makers would try such aging methods! I preferred the exotic flavours of the Early Landed version over the Jarnac aged Cognac.

Also tasting comparative tasting between the 1987 and 1988 Cognac was a nice way to show the uniqueness of vintages, each year is different, that’s the strength of Hine’s Vintages!

Some information about the Hine House:

The House of HINE stands on the banks of the River Charente, deep in Cognac country. In the ancient cellars behind, little has changed in 250 years. Always locked, they protect the finest vintages. This is one of the oldest houses in Jarnac, and has always been the company’s headquarters.

For over two centuries, the Hine family home remained largely unchanged. But then experimental English designer Russell Sage, known for his love of antique textiles, ancient buildings and the finer things in life, was brought in to give the place fresh new appeal. He combined the ‘best of British’ traditions (the likes of Savile Row bespoke tailoring, hand-made shoes and city shirts) with out-and-out British eccentricity. His unorthodox approach — much in line with HINE’s — gave rise to a delightfully original interior design style.

Domaines Hine

HINE is the privileged owner of an exceptional 297 acres estate, Domaines HINE, at the heart of Grande Champagne, the finest cognac cru. Situated in the small parish of Bonneuil, the gentle slopes of the HINE estate overlook the picturesque Colinaud valley. The estate is planted with 173 acres of vines with an average age of 25 years and the remaining land is covered in woodland to protect the local flora and fauna and favour biodiversity. The entire estate is managed using environmentally-friendly techniques.

The HINE estate benefits from a south-facing aspect, which maximises the long hours of sunshine and heat — ideal for ripening the grapes to perfection. The cognacs from this premier cru are particularly appreciated for their great finesse, floral bouquet, elegance and long ageing potential.

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What do you think about this Cognac?
Rating: 10.0/10 (7 votes cast)
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    Living in Jarnac, we walk by their building on our way to school every day.
    Do they offer tours?

  • Luis Brusco said:

    I am a HIne cognac lover and a collector of Hine Vintages…. Need to fund pre-1953 bottles!!! Some Help?

  • Don Henny said:

    Luis Brusco, your contact info would be great, I might be able to help you out! hennessyprive@hotmail.be

  • Don Henny said:

    Luis Brusco, your contact info would be great, I might be able to help you out! hennessyprive@hotmail.be

  • Best XO Cognacs 2012 – Top 10 said:

    […] in Grande Champagne. Complex, rich, supple, balanced and long-lasting on the palate. Tasted while visiting Hine in […]

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