Léopold CROIZET Interview
I am Léopold Croizet, I represent the 9th generation of winegrowers on the estate. I inherited it from my father who inherited it from his mother who herself inherited it from her father and so on… Our vineyard, planted mainly in the commune of Triac Lautrait, brings together 30 hectares around a farm typically Charente. Here we are in the heart of the village, Lantin, near Jarnac. It is a privileged land. It belongs to the Fins Bois cru and benefits from the clay-limestone limits of the lands of Champagne.
What is your work and its scope within Maison Pierre Croizet?
Since 2001, I have taken my full place in the family adventure. I am a winemaker, distiller, master-blender. I spread the word to my friends and consumers of Pierre Croizet cognac. I am also an actor of the passage of time! Time is an essential element to be taken into account for the production of cognac. « It’s about letting time work, but being active! »
What major assets and know-how do you have ?
First of all in the working method: our vineyard is fully converted to organic farming. I started the conversion as soon as I arrived on the estate. The entire vineyard is dedicated to the production of our cognacs which leaves me free choice on the conduct I wish to lead and the direction I wish to offer to my “eaux de vie”. We choose an old-fashioned culture with organic smoke and premature harvests to maintain good acidity and give elegant and aromatic “eaux de vie”. The distillation is carried out in two small potstills of 16hl and 20hl, those that my grandmother had installed! Our distillation method remains uncommon in the region, it comes from my father who himself got it from his mother: a family secret!
What are the values that take precedence and distinguish you from other brands?
Respect for tradition, values… For several generations my family has provided expertise and know-how in all stages of the production of cognac: from the vine to the blending, including of course the distillation. This mastery allows us to «nurture» and ensure an heritage for future generations. Be visionary, see further and ensure quality of products. My grandfather Marc launched his brand of cognac with his brother just after the second world war. It was a period of reconstruction in the country and we were recovering of several tough years. He was thinking big, he launched his business with some success and even won. I have a lot of anecdotes about my ancestors and it enriches my business vision and also give me motivation to prove myself to be worthy of it.
Could you describe the particularity and the style of your cognacs ?
Difficult for me to describe my cognacs … I prefer to make them taste, they speak for themselves! As I said earlier, each step is important to make a good cognac. The expertise I carry produces very fruity cognacs, typical of the Fins Bois cru. They are fragrant, round, mellow and easy to drink. This roundness comes mainly from a distillation on the lees. Our spirits then age in French oak barrels whose woods are selected from the best forests in France. This task now falls to my wife, who once worked in cooperage and who has a real passion for the interaction between wood and spirit. The blend of this diversity offers a range of very interesting aromas.