An unforgettable experience

We recently had the chance to take part in an evening of top-tier wining and dining hosted by LOUIS XIII Cognac at the majestic Delaire Graff Estate.

Guests were welcomed in the beautiful Delaire Graff wine tasing room, after which dinner was served in the Vinoteque.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Antony Hamilton-Russel of Hamilton-Russel Vineyards, Stellenbosch Visio editor France Beyers, Olive Hamilton Russel, Tanja von Arnim of Delaire Graff Estate.

The dining portion of the evening was handled by newly appointed head chef Kevin Grobler, who returned to South Africa after three years as Head Chef of the Michelin-starred JAN Restaurant in Nice. Beautiful Delaire wines were served with dinner.

Louis XIII private client director and sommelier Jörg Pfützner took guests through the history of Louis XIII and the proper way to taste this almost ethereal liquid.

‘Louis XIII is regarded as the most luxurious spirit on the planet,’ says Jorg. ‘It’s intricate alchemy of 1200 Eaux-de-vie is also known as the water of life. The youngest component of Eaux-de-vie is at least 40 years old and it takes four generations of cellar masters 100 years to craft every decanter – that’s why it’s also known as a century in a bottle.’

This exclusive cognac is made up of 1,200 different types of eau de vie, a clear liquid abstracted from grapes in the south-west region of France through distillation. The purity of the eau de vie makes it perfect for long-term aging, which is where a lot of the focus of Louis XIII lays. Being informed of all the hard work, craftsmanship and time that goes into making the cognac made the simple act of witnessing the opening of a bottle extra special. Of course, tasting this one-of-kind cognac was even more so.

The highlight of the evening culminated with a Louis XIII Tasting experience that will stick with us for a long time to come. It hits the mouth like a bomb – exploding and filling every corner with flavours of nuts, honey, leather and dried fruit, all intermingling in complex harmony. People often use the expression “life-changing” too lightly, but getting to experience what “A century in a bottle” tastes like, it was exactly that.