During his recent Australian visit, Gérard Chaussée, General Manager of Védrenne, presented a masterclass which was hosted by Cerbaco at the Oak Barrel in Sydney. More than thirty liqueurs were available to taste, showcasing some of the best in the Védrenne portfolio.
Gérard Chaussée with the range of Védrenne
Védrenne is renowned for its liqueurs, particularly the award winning Crème de Cassis and SuperCassis. The company was founded by Joseph Védrenne and has been making liqueurs since 1923. Located in Nuits-Saint-Georges in the heart of Burgundy, it is less than 100 kilometres from Romanée Conti, a region that is traditionally known for its red fruits.
Cassis, or blackcurrant, grows to 1 metre in height and is also used in fragrances. About 30 tons of buds are sold to Grasse in Provence. Flower by Kenzo is one fragrance that uses cassis in its production.
Védrenne Creme de fruits range
Other liqueurs in the Védrenne portfolio
At Védrenne , red fruit liqueurs such as cassis, framboise, fraise des bois are made by maceration. The liqueur is produced by using neutral alcohol (not brandy or Cognac) to obtain the real taste of fruit. Unlike wines, there is no fermentation in liqueurs, and as such they have a minimum of 15% alcohol to ensure there is no risk of fermentation.
Sugar beet root
Védrenne use the sugar beet root to produce sugar and alcohol, a root that is also used to make Pastis. A minimum of 5 weeks of maceration ensures the best quality. When the vat is opened, they obtain the first juice from fruit that has now a lot of colour and aroma, and is used to make Marc de Cassis. The fruit is then pressed to get the second juice. The first juice and second juice are mixed to obtain a fruit infusion which is a mix of cassis and 30% alcohol. To complete the process, dry sugar is added, mixed and the liqueur is finished.
SuperCassis, the most awarded Cassis in the world, has double the quantity of fruit than Cassis, which is 500g per litre. More fruity and viscous, it uses the “Noir de Bourgogne“, the best variety of blackcurrant, and contains no additives. The result is a much more concentrated fruit flavour that goes well in kir and kir royale.
Organic Crème de Cassis
Organic Crème de Cassis de Bourgogne is the pride of Védrenne, and the result of three years of research to produce a 100% Organic “Noir de Bourgogne”. The liqueur has a fresh and fragrant nose of picked blackcurrant, wild berries with a pure and natural flavour that is softer on the palate and not too sweet. Only 40,000 bottles are produced per year.
Once opened, red fruit liqueurs are best kept in the fridge to prevent oxygenation. Unopened, they can keep for three years if stored in the dark.
Védrenne range of liqueurs
Other liqueurs are made by the distillation process which takes place in small copper stills allowing the essence of the macerated ingredients to fully release their aromas and flavours. Sometimes a mix of maceration and distillation is used for some liqueurs.
Le Birlou – chestnut and apple liqueur
Favourites include Le Birlou, a chestnut and apple liqueur with a nutty aroma and flavour that can be enjoyed on its own or over ice. Crème au Caramel et à la Fleur du Sel, is a cream and salted caramel liqueur that is difficult to put down after the first sip, and Le Figuier is a very sweet liqueur made with figs that would go well in desserts and fruity cocktails.
Blue Ribbon London Dry Gin – Crème au Caramel et à la Fleur du Sel
Blue Ribbon London Dry Gin seemed a little out of place among the liqueurs but it is a standout aromatic style gin produced from 14 different plant extracts including thyme, citrus, anise, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and five times distilled. If you like drinking your gin neat to appreciate its flavour, this one hits the right spot.
In 2001, Pagès-Védrenne opened Le Cassissium, a museum devoted to blackcurrant which offers guided tours of the liqueur factory as well as tastings.
(L to R) Valerie Blayac (Managing Director of Cerbaco), Mauro Ribiero (Cerbaco NSW Brand Ambassador), Gérard Chaussée, (General Manager of Védrenne)
The Védrenne Liqueur Masterclass was held on Tuesday 28 February 2012 by Cerbaco Distribution at the Oak Barrel. Gourmantic attended the event as a media guest.
Le Cassissium: http://www.cassissium.fr
8 passage Montgolfier, 21700 NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES, France
The Oak Barrel: http://www.oakbarrel.com.au
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