Marnier Lapostolle – Pineau des Charentes (France)

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  • My Rating: B+

Pineau des Charentes – Marnier Lapostolle (Grand Marnier), 18% ABV – 750ml, (Jarnac, France)

from the Grand Marnier website:

“Pineau Des Charentes Marnier® is a local fortified wine made only in the Cognac region by passionate people. This is the kind of “jewel” known only to the globetrotting connoisseur, yet it deserves to be better known. The House of Grand Marnier®, historically established in the heart of Cognac region at the Château de Bourg-Charente, follows that local tradition in making Pineau Des Charentes according to the highest quality standards. Following a secret process, grapes grown exclusively in the Cognac region undergo fermentation which is stopped by the addition of cognac. The product is then aged at length in French oak casks to give complexity.”

-So basically, Pineau des Charentes = fortified wine = fresh pressed (same day as picked) GRAPE JUICE + COGNAC and then aged in oak barrels.

-typically made with Ugni blanc, Folle blanche and Colombard, and sometimes with Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc and Montils (wiki).

  • Style: (fortified wine) Pineau des Charentes
  • Taste Profile: sweet alcohol -> sour apricot/white grape -> oaked cognac/almond/warm sweet finish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $22, sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: not this producer but different one
  • Would I recommend this to fortified wine aficionados: positively

Visual: Nice label w/ gold medal Bruxelles awarded in 1984. Quality foil-sealed top with easy-pull tab plus what appears to be a real cork resealable stopper; all screams high quality. Pours golden yellow with runny legs.

Nose: light white grape, red apple, dried prune

Attack: Bright dense 9/10-sweetness, subdued alcohol detection

Mid-palate: medium sourness, apricot, white grape, eau-de-vie ‘airiness’

Finish: (very nice) OAKED cognac backbone, almond, nasal and then throat long warm finish.

Summary: At around $20 this is a steal!!! Superb packaging quality, depth of flavour, sippability, and roundness. That oaked Cognac backbone just hooks you in, but the sweetness kind of weighs on you if you have more than a glass. This is a MUST-TRY for those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of sipping a Pineau des Charentes. Now I’m curious what the Red/Rosé Pineaus taste like.