Gaston Briand

Cognac 1904 Gaston Briand

Grande Fine Champagne, Handwritten label by Mr. G. Briand

Provenance: Christies Switzerland, 11/15/1998

Cognac 1904 Gaston Briand (1979)
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Vintage 1904
Alcohol 39.0 %
Bottled 1959
Button No button
Fill level High shoulder
Packaging No casing
Region Grande Fine Champagne
Shape Cognaçaise
Size 70 cl

Cognac

Renowned throughout the world, the production of Cognac has been regulated by its very own AOC since 1909. Only liqueurs from eaux-de-vie made from crus from the controlled appellation area of Cognac can be labelled as such. This liqueur must be distilled and aged on-site in compliance with authorised techniques: double distillation in a copper Charentais still, ageing in oak barrels for a set minimum ageing period.

A good Cognac is subjected to a complex manufacturing process. It is never made from the eau-de-vie of a single cru, but from a `marriage' of eaux-de-vie that vary in age and cru - some as old as a hundred. To establish the age of a Cognac, only the number of years spent in oak casks or barrels are taken into account. As soon as an eau-de-vie is decanted into a glass recipient, it ceases to age. The longer it is left to age, the more a Cognac gains in complexity, fragrance, aromas and taste (spiced, pepper and cinnamon flavours).

Please note that only Cognacs made exclusively from Petite and Grande Champagne (50% minimum) can use the "Fine Champagne" appellation.

Gaston Briand

Gaston Briand (1880-1957) was a famous name in the cognac region, but nowadays it is impossible to write about him and his legacy without mentioning his son-in-law Marcel Ragnaud and the Sabourin-Ragnaud brand. But take note: although Raymond Ragnaud is Marcel Ragnaud’s brother, he has his own brand altogether.

Gaston Briand’s family already started growing wines on the Domaine La Voûte in 1850. They produced and sold cognacs for the big houses like Hennessy and Rémy Martin. It was Gaston who started selling his cognacs in the 1930s, although he has always kept very committed to the Hennessy’s. He was a real pioneer and one of the first to recognize that blending was not necessary for cognacs made of one of the best regions in Charente: grande champagne. He became president of the Charente Winegrowers Association and helped to create the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC). He contributed to the 1909 and the 1938 legislation that defined the cognac-producing area and helped to form the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine) for the protection against frauds. His cognacs were famous, especially his early 20th century vintages. They still are.

His inheritance went to three people: his daughter Denise, who married Marcel Ragnaud, the widow of his brother Jean and to Mme Henriette Bonnaud. These three people established a firm called ‘Indivision Gaston Briand’.

Marcel Ragnaud (1904-1996) was a son of Paul Ragnaud who had started to grow wines in 1920 in Le Chateau; not a castle but a little place North of Ambleville. It was Marcel’s brother Raymond who succeeded his father in 1941, but half of the inheritance went to Marcel. Marcel married to Denise Briand, daughter of Gaston Briand, and started his own brand in 1947: Marcel Ragnaud. Soon his cognacs too became much appreciated and appeared on wine-lists of many a good restaurant.

His daughter Annie married to Paul Sabourin, and in 1980 they changed their brand-name to Sabourin-Ragnaud. Until recent three generations of women led the company: Denise, the daughter of Gaston Briand and widow of Marcel Ragnaud, Annie, daughter of Denise and widow of Paul Sabourin and Patricia, granddaughter of Gaston Briand. They were reverently called ‘Les Dames du Cognac.’ Today it is Annie and her son Olivier who are in charge of the business.

They exclusively make cognacs from their own vineyards that comprise a little less than 50 hectares in one of the parts of grande champagne, planted with mainly ugni blanc but also a bit of colombard and folle blanche. Ragnaud-Sabourin still sells part of their production to the big cognac houses, but the majority they keep for their own creation. Altogether they are now in possession of an enormous stock of old cognacs, two to three times as big as is seen in other houses and more then fifteen times as many as is needed for one year of sales. This stock enables them to produce some very beautiful, old cognacs. Worth mentioning are the Florilège of Ragnaud-Sabourin that is 46% natural alcohol level and 45 years of age and the No.35 of the Alliance series, which has of course aged for 35 years. This last one is also called Fontvieille, after the oldest part of their vineyard. Both made from 60% ugni blanc and 40% folle blanche and colombard.

But they also still issue two other very exciting bottles:

-    The Héritage Ragnaud consists of 40% ugni blanc, 30% folle blanche and 30% colombard. It is made from three different years: 2002 – 2003 - 2004. This one used to be called Héritage Mme Paul Ragnaud and before that Héritage de Mme Gaston Briand and now resides under the Ragnaud-Sabourin label. So there exist several versions of it.

-    Le Paradis Héritage Gaston Briand made of several grape varieties: ugni blanc,  colombard,  folle blanche, jurançon, blanc ramé, bouilleaux, balzac blanc, and chalosse; 90% is from around 1900, and 10% is pre-phylloxera (before 1870). There are multiple versions of Le Paradis.

 

 

Gaston Briand Cognac Old Liquors

Maison Gaston Briand

Gaston Briand (1880-1957) was a famous name in the cognac region, but nowadays it is impossible to write about him and his legacy without mentioning his son-in-law Marcel Ragnaud and the Ragnaud-Sabourin brand. But take note: although Raymond Ragnaud is Marcel Ragnaud’s brother, he has his own brand altogether.

Domain de la Voute

Domaine La Voûte

Gaston Briand’s family already started growing wines on the Domaine La Voûte in 1850. They produced and sold cognacs for the big houses like Hennessy and Rémy Martin. It was Gaston who started selling his cognacs in the 1930s, although he has always kept very committed to the Hennessy’s.

Famous cognacs

Famous cognacs 

He was a real pioneer and one of the first to recognize that blending was not necessary for cognacs made of one of the best regions in Charente: Grande Champagne. He became president of the Charente Winegrowers Association and helped to create the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC). 

33

INAO

He contributed to the 1909 and the 1938 legislation that defined the cognac-producing area and helped to form the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine) for the protection against frauds. His cognacs were famous, especially his early 20th century vintages. They still are.

Indivision Gaston Briand

Indivision Gaston Briand

His inheritance went to three people: his daughter Denise, who married Marcel Ragnaud, the widow of his brother Jean and to Mme Henriette Bonnaud. These three people established a firm called ‘Indivision Gaston Briand’.

Marcel Ragnaud Ambleville

Marcel Ragnaud

Marcel Ragnaud (1904-1996) was a son of Paul Ragnaud who had started to grow wines in 1920 in Le Chateau; not a castle but a little place North of Ambleville. It was Marcel’s brother Raymond who succeeded his father in 1941, but half of the inheritance went to Marcel. Marcel married to Denise Briand, daughter of Gaston Briand, and started his own brand in 1947: Marcel Ragnaud. Soon his cognacs too became much appreciated and appeared on wine-lists of many a good restaurant.

Annie Sabourin

Les Dames du Cognac

His daughter Annie married to Paul Sabourin, and in 1980 they changed their brand-name to Ragnaud-Sabourin. Until recent three generations of women led the company: Denise, the daughter of Gaston Briand and widow of Marcel Ragnaud, Annie, daughter of Denise and widow of Paul Sabourin and Patricia, granddaughter of Gaston Briand. They were reverently called ‘Les Dames du Cognac.’ Today it is Annie and her son Olivier who are in charge of the business.

very beautiful, old cognacs

Very beautiful, old cognacs

They exclusively make cognacs from their own vineyards that comprise a little less than 50 hectares in one of the parts of grande champagne, planted with mainly ugni blanc but also a bit of colombard and folle blanche. Ragnaud-Sabourin still sells part of their production to the big cognac houses, but the majority they keep for their own creation.

beautiful, old cognacs

Beautiful, old cognacs

Altogether they are now in possession of an enormous stock of old cognacs, two to three times as big as is seen in other houses and more then fifteen times as many as is needed for one year of sales.  This stock enables them to produce some very beautiful, old cognacs.

View the Cognac Gaston Briand Collection