The Last Drop has released a remarkable aged Pineau des Charentes: occasionally, we have the great fortune to come across something so fascinating, and so delicious, that we cannot resist: neither the temptation to savour the liquid, nor the joy of sharing such a unique discovery with our friends. This bottle is one such discovery: a ‘Vin de Liqueur’ that, over a century of slow maturation, should have long since lost its charm, or evaporated into woody syrup , but which, instead, has matured into something singularly remarkable and quite miraculous.
We are delighted and proud to present this extraordinary, uniquely old Pineau des Charentes.
Pineau des Charentes hails from the same area as Cognac: the mild, oceanic Charente and Charente-Maritime regions north of Bordeaux and stems from the same grapes as its illustrious neighbour. However, for Pineau des Charentes, the sweet, fruity grape ‘must’ collected after pressing is then fortified with young Cognac. The technical name for the resulting liquid is ‘Vin de Liqueur’ which, at 16-22% ABV, is around the same alcoholic strength as Sherry or Port but with a more developed grape character.
Pineau has a long history and proud tradition in its home region and throughout France. Legend has it that in the 16th century, a Cognac producer accidentally added unfermented grape must to a barrel that already contained Cognac eau-de-vie. Upon opening the barrel some years later, the concoction received a rapturous reception, and was dubbed “Pineau”.
Let the story unfold: in late 2017, Managing Director Rebecca Jago visited Cognac. On her visit, she was taken to visit an old friend of her host, the owner and distiller at a family owned distillery in the Grande Champagne region who have been making fine Cognacs since the 17th Century. There, they were presented with an unforgettable tasting which yielded the 1925 Grande Champagne Cognac which became The Last Drop’s 14th release in 2019 [link]. This superb cognac had been discovered by the current owner, having been hidden behind a wall of rubble before the second World War.
Alongside the hidden barrel of 1925 Grande Champagne Cognac, however, was another cask, containing its own treasure: a small quantity of Pineau des Charentes, made in the early years of the 20th Century. Like the cognac, it was hidden away – probably with no intention of being left there so long.
Once tasted, this dark, sweet and fragrant vin de liqueur can never be forgotten. Volume, richness, intensity and concentration are the essence of this old, rare and delectable Pineau. Pages could be written listing the myriad aromas and flavours that keep coming, and any attempt at description is no more than a snapshot of a few moments in this once in a lifetime experience.
Most remarkable of all, we think, is how something so old and dense in its sheer concentration manages to avoid being cloying and, instead retains an enticing freshness that keeps you coming back for more.