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Domaine David Ramnou

Article: March 2021


Region : Charentais region

Appellation : Cognac and Pineau des Charentes

Winemaker : David Ramnoux

Area : 10 hectares

Grape varieties : Whites: Ugni Blanc, Collombar, Sémillon

Climate : Oceanic-continental

Labels : Demeter and Organic farming

Label Bio

The Cognac appellation

The Cognac appellation extends over two Charentais departments, some communes of Deux Sèvres and Dordogne. It was officially born in 1936 , but Cognac has been produced there for over 300 years .

In the 15th century, the Cognac vineyard enjoyed great export success. The wine barrels are shipped to Northern Europe and particularly Holland. However, to improve its preservation, the Dutch "burn" the wine , which helps to strengthen the alcohol level . This distillation practice spread in the 17th century in Cognac and was improved. The Charentais are developing the technique of double distillation, which raises the alcohol level of the brandy to 70% and allows more alcohol to be transported in barrels. This is how Cognac was born, always produced by this double distillation process, which is also called Charentaise distillation . With the invention of the glass bottle by the English in the 17th century, wine and Cognac exports take on another dimension.  A great European collaboration!

In the 18th century, the trading houses were born, which today share 80% of Cognac production (Martell, Remy Martin, Hennessy, Hine ...).

As everywhere in Europe, the Cognac vineyards were ravaged by the arrival of phylloxera at the beginning of the 20th century. The vines are replaced with a new grape variety of Italian origin which has adapted well to the terroir: Ugni Blanc. Today, 98% of the grape variety is Ugni Blanc. The other grape varieties authorized to enter the Cognac appellation are: Colombard, Montils, Folle Blanche, and Sémillon.

Aging in Limousin oak barrels is another requirement of the Cognac appellation specifications. Cognacs are generally blended with barrels of different vintages. The aging times will determine the mentions on the bottles:

  • VS (very special), whose brandy has aged at least 2 years,

  • VSPO (very superior old pale) whose brandy has aged at least 4 years

  • XO (extra old) whose brandy has aged at least 10 years


Pineau des Charentes is a lighter and very sweet alcohol, since it contains 75% grape juice and 25% Cognac. It is also aged in Limousin oak barrels for at least 1 year. The appellation was created in 1945.

The domain

Located in Mareuil, a small village 20 minutes north-east of Cognac, the Ramnoux family has been working the 10 hectares of the estate since 1811. Its land is located in the so-called "Cognac fins bois" appellation, on clay-limestone soils. David accompanied by his wife Dominique took over the estate in 1997 and are the 3rd generation of winegrowers. David Ramnoux takes care of the entire Cognac life cycle: agriculture, winemaking, distillation and blending before bottling.

The estate is located on gentle plains and slopes . It benefits from the climate  oceanic-continental in the region, with hot days and cool nights, conducive to the development of the vines.

The vineyard of the Domaine is composed of Ugni blanc, Colombard and Sémillon to make Cognacs and Pineaux. But also Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon for its red wine.

The range is simple and well made: a Cognac, a Pineau des Charentes and a red wine . As in a restaurant, the less there is on the menu, the better the house.




Avant-garde, David's father decides to convert the estate to Biodynamics . The idea is to progress qualitatively, thanks to the virtuous circle of this method of cultivation. They are first advised by experts in biodynamics, then learn on the job. They obtain the expected result: a fine and elegant Cognac on a healthy and preserved terroir .


The principles of Biodynamics are applied:

The work in the vineyards and in the cellar is carried out using the astral calendar (Moon, planets). Biodynamic preparations made from cow dung or silica, are sprayed into the vines to stimulate the development of microorganisms, which will enrich the soil to give it life. Aerated soil is key because it ensures better water flow reducing the occurrence of diseases such as late blight. It also allows the roots of the vines to go deeper and protect themselves from drought in the summer .

David Ramnoux adds: "In organic we stop chemical treatments. In Biodynamic agriculture we stop chemical treatments and send impulses which make it possible to re-stimulate the living ".

The harvest is manual , allowing the organoleptic qualities of the grapes to be retained, until crushing in the vats.


In the basement

David Ramnoux is a Vigneron-Bouilleur . After vinification of his white grape varieties, he distils the wine himself in the family Charentais still of 4.5 hectoliters (450L). The wine is heated for the first time. This distillation makes it possible to obtain the “brouillis”, which has an alcohol content of 30% . The brouillis is in turn distilled and we obtain an eau-de-vie which has a content of 70% .  In this step, the experience of the distiller is essential. The particularity of David Ramnoux, is to leave a slight additional heating time. This makes it possible to look for "secondary elements" , those which will bring the fruity aromas to Cognac while preserving its finesse. This eau-de-vie then aged at the estate, in Limousin oak barrels, where the Cognac will take on its amber color.

Bottling will be done by selection of barrels which will be on average 8 years old . The evaporation of the volume of alcohol during aging in barrels (also called "the angels' share") allows Cognac to reduce its alcohol content naturally by a small percentage per year. In order to bring the alcohol level to 40%, demineralized water is added at the very end of the process.


At the tasting, we obtain a Cognac perfectly balanced between the fruitiness brought by the young Cognacs and the finesse of the old Cognacs. There are aromas of peach, pear and lime as well as sweet spices. The Cognac is round , the alcohol well integrated and the finish is long.



Comment fait-on du Cognac?

David Ramnoux nous explique la distillation du Cognac

Le vieillisement du Cognac

David Ramnoux nous explique son vieillisement du Cognac

Du Cognac en fût de Bourbon, bonne ou mauvaise idée?

David Ramnoux donne franchement son opinion

Album photo du Domaine David Ramnoux

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