For Maison Martell’s Cellar Master Christophe Valtaud, memories are profoundly intertwined with flavour and aroma. Born and raised in Cognac, France, he started learning about his family’s winegrowing and distillation traditions at an early age. As cellar master of Maison Martell, Christophe is the curator of the House’s style, ensuring that each Martell cognac is unique and full of life. His work invents infinite possibilities when it comes to new blends of cognac, as well as all the emotions that they may inspire.
Christophe Valtaud, Maison Martell’s Cellar Master, knows that memories are profoundly intertwined with flavour and aroma. Born and raised in the Cognac region of France, he learned at an early age about his family’s winegrowing and distillation traditions, which are rooted deeply in the region. From when he was five years old, Christophe began to discover his family’s rich heritage, which dates back to his great-grandfather’s time.
To this very day, the fragrance of an old cognac can transport him to memories of being in the cellar with his father and grandfather. One of Christophe’s preferred cognacs is Martell Chanteloup XXO, a blend of 450 very old eaux de-vie. He enjoys it best served with an ice ball. This special “on the rocks” pour allows him to swirl the cognac, releasing its complex aromas and without diluting its flavours.
Due to the nature of Christophe’s work — its connections to legacy, to memory and to change — he is always torn between the past and planning for the future. Among his top priorities when becoming Martell’s cellar master was to find his successor.
Today, as cellar master of Maison Martell, Christophe is the curator of the House’s signature style, ensuring that each Martell cognac is unique and full of life. As the guardian of that style, Christophe’s work demands both audacity and commitment. He constantly challenges himself to imagine, to innovate and to create new things. Cognac is alive and like any living thing, it constantly evolves and changes.
While he constantly pushes Martell cognacs into the future, Christophe must also ensure that the House’s signature cognacs stay consistent over time. A fifty-year-old bottle of Martell Cordon Bleu, for example, should taste exactly the same as a bottle from last year. Christophe ensures that Maison Martell can guarantee that kind of enduring quality.
Christophe’s work in the cellar has infinite possibilities, not only regarding new (or old) blends of cognac, but also in terms of the emotions that they may conjure up. Like with perfume, cognac’s aromas have a powerful connection to memory. Tasting cognac evokes recollections, prompting openness and sharing. Collaborating in the cellar can quickly become an intimate experience among colleagues or friends.
For Christophe, when it comes to cognac, anything is possible.
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