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La Goutte du Fils

14 December 2023

He took over from his father, who had taken over from his father. At 22 years of age, Florent Bourgeat is a travelling distiller, going from village to village in the Nièvre department of France.

 

He is young, talks with a Nièvre accent and is approachable and cheerful. We’re talking about Florent, a licensed distiller. A local lad. With his cap firmly planted on his head in the old-fashioned way, he travels through the Nièvre with his trailer and still, going from village to village. Each person comes out to meet him, their buckets laden with lovely ripe fruit: figs, apples, mirabelle plums, pears and, somewhat rarer these days, medlars.

 

He took over the business in 2022. He “took it over” because, although his forebears were already distillers, it is not a status you inherit. “There are a lot of formalities involved in obtaining permission to operate as a distiller. With French Customs in particular. You can’t just become one at a flick of a switch”. Based in Sept-Voies, in the commune of Saint-Firmin, Florent is passionate about his craft and is something of a jack-of-all-trades. “Anything can be distilled, any fruit. That’s what makes this job so interesting”..

 

The distiller meets the barrel maker

TEvery November, Florent sets up his still in Murlin, near the wash-house. When Maël, head of hospitality for the Charlois Group, crossed paths with Florent, it was clear to him that there was something that could be done together. Maël too has a passion, a passion for wine, which he has the Charlois Group’s visitors taste. “As part of our quality approach, every year our research and innovation department conducts tests on our barrels and oak products for oenology on our winemaking customers’ premises. These tests give us a better understanding of the oenological and organoleptic profile of the products from each of the Group’s cooperages or enable us to get ready for the launch of new products. The tests take various factors into account: in terms of the oak casks: their capacity, toasting and grain of the wood, and in terms of the wine: its colour, grape variety, region, and so on. The wines resulting from these tests are not sold on the market and represent a certain volume that has to be recycled. Hence the idea of making wine brandy with Florent”.

 

Brandy made in Murlin

The operation took place in April 2023. Some 350 bottles of wine went through the “La Goutte du Fils” stills. Most of them Bordeaux. Whites and reds. Wines given a second life. In the end, 112 litres of wine brandy were produced. “The result is interesting. After six months, the brandy takes on the colour and aromas of the wood of the barrel in which it is ageing. A “feuillette” barrel (114 litres) of the Burgundy medium toast type, crafted by the coopers at Manufacture Tonnelière La Grange. In a few months, we will be producing a brandy made in Murlin”.

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