Meukow vsop cognac
The ortolan bunting is a small bird that is common in france and dispersed throughout asia(just like cognac). Its sought after, for it is a delicacy(like cognac), although its quickly becoming extinct and the birds continue to dwindle out(like cognac) even though hunting them is illegal… but not so much in france, the French can still prepare these in their homes legally. Why? Because the French made food – that’s why. Without auguste escoffier we would still be huddled around a carved stone filled with hippopotamus meat and hot water. Anyways…
The bird is caught via net, so not to do any damage to the meat and the captor puts the live bird into a box, where it is completely dark and the bird happily gorges on millet grain. This goes on for some time, the bird eats and eats and gets really fat and plump, until one day the chef dumps some brandy(cognac or Armagnac) onto the bird, so when it gasps for air, it drowns quietly and happily. It is then plucked and roasted in an oven. The heads are cut off and the diner is presented the dish. The diner places a table napkin over their face whilst eating the bird to keep the aromas in, for full flavor and olfactory experience.
That’s a nice story and all, but you’re here to learn about the disgusting truth of things we love, so, here’s the traditional way of making it…
The birds are caught mostly via netting, in the air, so not to damage the meat. The birds typically travel in pairs, with their life mate, so when you capture one, you’ve stolen the husband or wife of the widowed bird. After capture, the bird has its eyes plucked out by a long steel needle, essentially permanently and painfully blinding it. The bird is then force fed fresh orchard fruits like figs, plums, apricots and grains like millet so that the bird can double or quadruple its size in painfull heart stopping obesity. Force feeding by the way, means stuffing a funnel down its throat and plunging ground food past its throat into its stomach.
After some weeks of being painfully blinded and horrifyingly force fed in captivity(being a matchbox size cage, to restrict any movement), it is then to be prepared by a chef to be presented to the customers.
The bird is drown in brandy, in a box, which may seem kinda cool, but the esophagus and tender throat are burned by the noxious fumes and it dies of asphyxiation, rather than being drown by liquid. Fun stuff. The chef strips off the feathers of the assumed dead bird and places the carcass in a pan, and places in an oven to slowly roast, as not to crisp the meat or skin, for about 8 minutes.
The diners are happily chatting and sipping brandy when the birds arrive, still full of entrails and guts, bones and head attached. The birds are cooked to a desired doneness without browning too much. The chef will douse the birds with fine brandy and ignite at the table, in front of the guests. the brandy sears the outside of the fatty carcass and it is handed to the guest.
The guest will then cover their own head with a large napkin, because of the cruelty behind preparing this dish they need to hide-their-face-from-god . The guest then picks up the head of the just extinguished bird, burning the finger tips and will lower the whole bird, feet first into their mouth, burning the inner cheeks, gums and tongue while crunching on crisp fat, small bones,tender meat, lungs and stomach bursting with pockets of undigested cognac, effectively cutting and burning the insides of the diner’s mouth.
From what I’ve heard, it is delightful. It tastes of sweet crackling fat, fruit and brandy, mixed with the unmistakable flavor of your own blood. Seconds, please!
the meukow house has opted with the flat, seashell type of bottle. It is kept a very clean presentation with a wild panther carved into the glass bottle, and clean decals.
Sweet, candied grapes. An almost fruity beer impression at first sniff, but opens into some tender stone fruits like apricots, fig, bitter orange and peach pits all backed with that to be expected leatheriness. Candied walnuts.
Dusty, old burlap sacks. Thick and rich with an incredible smoothness. building up some rancio in the profile, there is some very mature brandy in this blend. The sourness and fruits from the nose are met with the palate. Slight building of black pepper and crystallized ginger treats. caramelized peaches abound.
The meukow brothers were sent out by Russian tsar Alexander II to travel cases of French brandy back to the Russian royal court, for the elitist’s enjoyment. After a few trips, the brothers decided to settle in cognac france and they developed their own trade company, and later started to produce their own brand of cognac.
In 1862 the brothers created the house a.c. meukow & co.
Meukow consists of the most common brandy grape, the ugni blanc, known for producing poor wine, but after distillation and aging it crafts an impeccable brandy. The grapes are picked under ripe specifically to provide a pungent flavor. The wine is distilled in the classic ‘charentais’ French pot still.
Buy it if you see it. This is a vsop that carries the same profile as an xo. The price is much lower than the big 5 too.