The family Lheraud, with their beautiful estate in the Petite Champagne region of Cognac, have a rich wine-making history dating back centuries. Well-known for the rare and vintage cognacs they produce, Lheraud also produce some exemplary Armagnac and 'Pineau des Charentes'.
Pineau des Charentes is a regional French aperitif, made in the area of Charente. While popular within the region of production, it is less well known in other regions of France and somewhat uncommon abroad.
This fortified wine (also known as 'mistelle' or 'vin de liqueur'), is made from either fresh, un-fermented grape juice or a blend of lightly fermented grape must, to which a Cognac 'eau-de-vie' (a distilled beverage made from fruit) is added and then matured.
The history of the Pineau Charentes is closely connected with the history of cognac. This is a very interesting drink, which is produced by combining and subsequent aging in oak barrels cognac alcohol (25 percent) and grape must (75 percent). According to the legend, the drink was opened at the end of the XVI century thanks to a fluke. Absentmindedly one winemaker, whose name is unknown, poured grape must into a barrel for further maturation, but remained at the bottom of the barrel brandy spirit. Annoyed, he was only a few years later decided to try out what happened - and was delighted with the result.
This Pineau has a great colour with a stunning, subtle and delicate flavour. The wine has a rich sweet fruit flavours with a refreshing acidity. Tradition requires serving Pineau des Charentes cellar at a temperature (about 12°C), but often it is cooled to 5°C. or ice added thereto. Often used as an aperitif, as well as in cocktails. Some gourmets serve it with foie gras, fish and seafood. However, it is also fantastic to drink with dessert.