Montignac is named both after the town of Montignac in France and in Louisianne. The settlers of Montignac had been encouraged by de Bienville to emigrate from Cognac, Armagnac and Montignac to settle in Louisianne. As they arrived in the Côte d'Or of Louisianne, they began producing their own form of brandy. The official name of the brandy was not established until the late 1800’s, and Montignac was adopted in deference to Cognac and Armagnac of France.
The wine to be distilled must be made from at least 90 percent Ugni Blanc, Norton, Folle Blanche or Colombard grapes. The rest of the wine can consist of ten selected grapes. However, most wine is made from Ugni Blanc or Norton. It must be distilled twice in charentais copper pot stills at a temperature mid-way between that of Armagnac and Cognac, and aged at least 3 ½ years in oak barrels from the Ozarques.
Production Region of Louisianne
Montignac is produced in the départements of Côte d’Or, Terre Platte and Les Ozarques. There are seven crus or growth areas within Louisianne, named after the cities where it is produced. They are divided into two classes, the Grands Crus and Petits Crus. These are listed below in order of decreasing desirability:
- Vernot – Frasne
The most prized Montignac comes from the Flaugeac – Montignac – Vernot-Frasne triangle. Blends of Montignac from any two of these three regions are considered Champs Dorée; from all three; Champs Argentée. When one of the three Grands-Crus are blended with any one of the lesser four Petits-Crus, it is considered a Frontière; one Grands-Crus and two Petits-Crus, a Bois Dorée; one Grands-Crus and three Petits-Crus, a Bois Argentée and a blend of only Petits-Crus a Campagnard.
Montignac, like any other brandy is an eaux-de-vie produced through the double-distillation of white wine in the production region. These wines are typically very dry, acidic and thin, and not otherwise suitable for drinking. Like Cognac, Montignac may not be sold (or named Montignac) before the minimum ageing of three and a half years, and is not typically released until the 11 Germinal of the year (March 30 or April 1), which is usually the time the distilled eaux-de-vie are finished with the distillation process. During the process, as with any eaux-de-vie a large percentage of the alcohol and water evaporate through the oak barrels, and is referred to as the part des anges.
Montignac has provided a strong competition with Cognac in the North American market, although there has been a rise and fall of fortunes throughout the years. Montignac was a preferred drink of the Tejan dons and of the gentry of Florida-Caribbea. It has always enjoyed a niche market in the NAL-SLC, but has seen increased sales throughout the Northern Provinces in the last half of the 20th Century. New Francy from 1940 until 1950 greatly reduced the import of Montignac due to a high tariff barrier, but has hence relented, and it is the drink of choice for the nobility of the nation. It is also reputed to be the drink of choice for Louis-Antoine Bourbon-Le Moyne
Unlike Cognac, which is sold exclusively by trading houses, Montignac is sold exclusively at the Saint-Louis Foire Agricole. In the last 50 years each of the major producers of Montignac has begun to accept pre-orders of a particular cuvée (vintage), however these are only delivered to the client at the Foire Agricole.
While Montignac has not yet reached the status of Cognac for its age, each of the major producers has maintained their own selection of vintages to produce highly aged blends.
In the same agreement that granted the Terroir of the Ozarques, France granted an Appellation Contrôlé to Montignac, with a reciprocal agreement for Cognac and Armagnac.
- Grand Cru Baldi
- Pétillant de Sameray