Michel Forgeron - Cognac - Grande Champagne
It was in 1909 that the ancestors of the Forgeron family settled in the most prestigious heart of the Cognac area: Grande Champagne, at a place called "Chez Richon" just east of Ségonzac, capital of the Grande Champagne region. Classified as the Premier Cru of the region of Cognac, Ségonzac with it's hill sides and special soil has a world-wide reputation for its wines and subsequently, in the 1610s for its brandies which, since the second half of the 19th century became known as Cognac.
When the young Michel Forgeron returned home from military service in 1960, he took over the family estate with 2 ha of vines and 4 ha of arable land and by 1965, he had planted vines everywhere he could. Together with his wife Francine, he turned the stable into a distillery and the barns into a very large cellar. In the same year, a vintage alembic still was installed and Cognac distillation began. In the early years they sold their Eau de Vie spirits to the large Cognac Houses, but in 1977 their first own casks were issued under the Forgeron brand.
In 1998, the family expanded their cultivation to 16 hectares and when 4th generation Pierre Forgeron takes over in 1999 from his dad, he continues to expand the cultivation area to 24 hectares. After living abroad for a long time Pierre's older brother Christophe, now master blender for 20 years, also joins the family business and a second still was added. In 2001, the first Folle blanche vines are planted to bring back the original taste of Cognac from before 1900.
From the outset, Christophe says, his parents set out to create ‘something different’: blends of great age and a higher-than-usual alcoholic strength to carry the complex flavours on the palate. Distilled on the lees, there are echoes here of Rémy Martin, with Eaux de Vie that have a distinct opulence and fatness well suited to long ageing.
Where the big blends prioritise consistency, Christophe looks the other way: ‘I don’t really care to keep repeating the same taste for a given blend,’ he says. At Forgeron each cask of Cognac has it's own character juts like the premium single malt whiskeys. Christophe: ‘I guarantee the minimum ageing and make them according to each available vintage barrel’s taste – and, of course, my own taste, which changes over time.’