February 11, 2007

Martel Cognacs

Photo provided

I tasted a variety of the French maker's cognacs at a special Asian-themed dinner in Las Vegas created to debut a new cognac called Creation Grand Extra.

Martell Noblige:

For our light starters -- lobster wonton soup, pork pot stickers and spring rolls -- the Noblige worked well, with its light consistency and notes of pear, citrus and definite vanilla from a younger wood.

Cordon Bleu:

This very popular cognac is perfumey from a flowery soil that speaks of violets and bits of citrus and walnut. It worked nicely with a wider variety of foods than the Noblige -- a diver scallop with jalapeno, cilantro and ponzu vinaigrette, Pacific cod with a fricassee of mussels, clams and Chinese sausage, and even a Sichuan beef filet with corn, bell pepper, water chestnut and rice noodle.


This familiar one worked well with a dessert sampler tray ranging from light fruit sorbets to ganache-stuffed chocolate cake, once I was able to coax out its reluctant dried-fruit hints of apricot and plum.

Creation Grand Extra:

The debut cognac is a soft, almost buttery, open distillation with an instant "montant,'' the first fragrance released from cognac. Definite notes of cedar and spice make this an immediately pleasing product. However, my preference in the Martel line remains the Cordon Bleu, a "gouleyant'' cognac, meaning its body is fresh and light despite aging and, thus, easily enjoyed. For what it's worth, cellar master Lemoine says his favorite drink is Cordon Bleu on the rocks.

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