This French Cellar Master Is Capturing Moments in Time
In these innovative times, we’re all trying to do things faster, better and more efficiently than generations past. But there’s still much to be said for honouring the wisdom of the ages—just ask Rémy Cointreau Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau.
In 2014, Loiseau—then just 34—was named the youngest-ever cellar master in LOUIS XIII Cognac history. But, despite his age, Loiseau has a beyond-his-years appreciation for the knowledge of previous generations and his role as a link in LOUIS XIII’s precious legacy.
The artistry of LOUIS XIII
“I feel the link with time every day in my work,” he says. As cellar master, Loiseau is tasked with carefully inspecting and sampling the works of those who came before him to identify the most perfectly aged eaux de vie that comprise each bottle of LOUIS XIII—making it one of the holiday season’s most paramount gift ideas.
“It’s part of my daily routine,” Loiseau explains. “Together with my tasting team, we select the eaux de vie with the highest aging potential to become LOUIS XIII. I work with eaux de vie from Grande Champagne that were chosen by my predecessors, sometimes long before I joined the House.”
Their extraordinary 150-year-old legacy won’t end with Loiseau. While he draws on the past, one day his work too will be handed down to the next generation of LOUIS XIII distillers, a responsibility to the future that Loiseau cherishes. “The essence of my role as cellar master is to pass on the selected eaux de vie, always thinking of the next generation. My mission is to work for future generations to preserve the most precious and elegant eaux de vie in our aging cellars as a legacy.”
Blending age-old skills and modern values
While being named cellar master at such a young age is indeed remarkable, Loiseau wears his achievements modestly. He says he is “humbled and deeply grateful” to be able to build on the work of his predecessor Pierrette Trichet, the first female to hold the role of cellar master at any of France’s major cognac houses. Loiseau views his primary role as safeguarding LOUIS XIII’s illustrious legacy for those who follow in his footsteps.
But he says that doesn’t only mean acting as a guardian of tradition. Rather, he sees his role as incorporating modern values and traditions to keep the LOUIS XIII brand relevant and forward-thinking, while at the same time protecting the prizewinning cognac’s signature flavour profile. “When you are at the crossroads between past, present and future, you have to find the right balance between respecting the heritage of the Maison and adding a touch of modernity to bring these treasures even further,” Loiseau says.
This includes a focus on incorporating sustainable practices that will ensure LOUIS XIII’s longevity for years to come. “The continuous quest of excellence cannot be achieved without a sustainable approach,” he says. “Sustainability is my driving force. Every year, we must find solutions to new challenges that may impact the quality or the quantity of the grapes we use in our final LOUIS XIII blend. Only by respecting the terroir, preserving biodiversity and adopting eco‐friendly practices will we continue to achieve excellence.”
With one eye on the past and one eye on the future, it’s not lost on Loiseau that he’s aiming to strike a balance that’s every bit as delicate and nuanced as the flavour of LOUIS XIII itself. “In both cases, time is our raw ingredient,” he says.