With Darroze absent [boo], Frapin was a great place to start. From their four vineyards, Frapin produce only single estate Cognac. They dont sell any of their spirit though TWE recently managed to acquire a specially bottled single cask 22yo last year [2017, blog].
- Frapin use casks made from Limousin oak, the thicker, larger grain making for a softer spirit.
- They first age their eau de vie in new [Limousin] casks for 6 months to 1 year. For Frapin, new means any cask with up to 5 years usage.
- After that, the spirit is then transferred to refill casks for around 2 years. Only casks that have had between 5-15 years of usage qualify as refills.
- After that, the Cognac may be transferred into spent casks for extra maturing, the aim being [mainly] air/oxidisation ageing only at this point. Cognac producers spend a fair proportion of their time re-casking early on, much the opposite to whisky where spirit is typically left until it’s either bottled or transferred briefly to marrying or finishing casks.
Frapin 1270  Ob. Single Family Estate Grande Champagne 40%
1270 is the year vineyards on the Frapin estate were reportedly planted.
- N: Bearing in mind this is my first of the day and I’ve little Cognac experience,.. I mainly picked out wood glue.
- T: Fruity gluey tannin.
- F: Light.
- C: A good sighter.
Scores 78 points
Frapin VIP XO  Ob. Grande Champagne 40%
TWE say ‘This was the only Cognac served on British Airways Concorde flights’. More recently it won gold at the Cognac Masters in 2016 and again at the World Cognac Awards 2017. At around six years+ old, the XO will soon signify an age minimum of ten years.
- N: Fruitier than the 1270.
- T: More rounded with soft bitter layers.
- F: Sweet fresh.
- C: A decent single estate blend that carries a substantial price tag of £155 .
Scores 84 points
Frapin Extra  Ob. Grande Champagne 40%
I’m told this contains 40-45yo reserves.
- N: Deeper yet quieter with fungal glue and dusty detergent.
- T: Fruity, spicy vanilla glue.
- F: Gluey toothpaste-fresh spice with a slow diminish.
- C: Feels like the bottle really needs a month to open out. This will currently set you back +/-£510 .
Scores 87 points
Frapin 1991 20yo Chateau de Fontpinot Millesime Ob. Grande Champagne 41.2% WF89
- N: Super! Rich, salty, buttery, sweet, fruity, herbal,..
- T: Same again. Rich fruity floral and assertive.
- F: Long and fruity. Also waxy with a little bubblegum and char.
- C: Very decent though not overly consolidated.
Scores 86 points
Frapin 1988 25yo Ob. Grande Champagne [1000 bts] 41.5%
- N: Dense, fruity and wickedly consolidated and polished.
- T: Super relaxed with a gentle freshness, this blossoms with water.
- F: Faint but water elongates the wine base.
- C: A lovely soft one.
Scores 85 neat and 88 with water.
Coming up next time, a Frapin masterclass LINK.