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One of the illustrious elder houses of Cognac, Frapin can trace its rich and storied history in the Grande Champagne region to 1270, and it is still owned by a direct descendant of the original founder today. Initially establishing themselves as a family of wine growers in the Fontpinot Castle at Segonzac Francois Rabelais, it wasn’t long before the Frapin family became distillers, a tradition they continued for a remarkable 20 generations. The 16th Century author Francois Rabelais was actually a family member, and a prestigious Frapin Cognac bottle was named in his honour: The Cuvee Rabelais. The process of creating begins on the impressive 240 hectares of vines surrounding the Château de Fontpinot. The Grande Champagne grapes are harvested by hand and whole bunches are pressed at once. The grape juice then undergoes a natural fermentation, with no filtration or additives to become ‘Vin de Charente’. Distillation at Frapin occurs twice on lees in six Charentais red copper stills. The first distillation results in an unclear alcohol, which distilled for a second time to capture the heart of the distillation to produce fine eaux de vie that will be matured in one of Frapin’s Chais. Frapin Cognacs are matured in Limousin oak casks, for the first quarter in new casks, after which they are transferred to older ones. The ageing warehouses are uniquely set over two levels, which means Cellar Master Patrice Piveteau is able to choose a location for each cask based on an appropriate atmospheric condition across different parts of their warehouses. The ground floor has greater humidity, while the attics are drier. These two factors have a clear impact on the ageing process, and subsequently the character of the final Cognac. Even after all this time, Frapin continues to set itself apart from the region’s other significant producers, as all of its Cognacs, including exquisite expressions such asVSOP Cognac, 12 Year Old Cask Strength (cask 1900) and Château de Fontpinot XO Cognac are made entirely on the family’s single estate.

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