The first time we visited Ragnaud Sabourin, I had tasted a fair amount of Cognac. Not hundreds of different species like I have now at this point in my career, but a good number. That was back in 2013. Today, three years later, I'm much more a veteran of French brandies and I can say safely that of all the Cognacs we've sampled over those years, I still think the Ragnaud Sabourin brandies are the best. I'm not alone either. The people of Cognac (at least the ones I've met over the years) think the small family-run estate is tops as well. They describe the epic No. 35 expression as "perfect." I remember when we met with one particular producer last year and he had no idea who we were or what K&L was. "Who do you work with from Cognac?" he asked with a smug look.
"Uh...Dudognon, Ragnaud-Sabourin...," I began to list off.
"You work with Ragnaud-Sabourin?" he asked, his eyes as wide as saucers.
Apparently that was some big time name-dropping. The more we've continued to work directly with the estate, the more the respect of our Cognac department grows. And for good reason! These thirty-three hectares of Grand Champagne fruit produce some of the most ethereal brandies in the business.
Annie Ragnaud-Sabourin is one of the kindest, most gentle producers we work with as well. Tasting at her house was one of the great memories from that trip. In terms of the style of the Cognac, there's a variety as well. The leaner of the two we carry is the No. 20, a fruit-driven, clean, and fresh-tasting brandy that presents the quality of the ugni blanc in full bloom. It's a stunning Cognac, remarkable for its lack of richness, yet smooth and satisfying character. The No. 35, however, is the big house killer. I would find it tough to ever go back to (insert big brand name here) XO after tasting this Cognac. A blend of mature Cognacs at a minimum 35 years of age, this is the rich, decadent, caramel and toffee-laden experience you wish all Cognac could be. For my money, it's the best traditional Cognac we carry and the best brandy per dollar on the shelf because it's so crowd-pleasing. You don't need a PhD in French spirits to understand it. The five minute finish speaks for itself. I'd throw Dugognon in there too, but I find that many customers can't deal with the complete lack of boise. They want the sweetness. You have to admit: it tastes pretty damn good when it's done well.
Back in stock after a brief absence: