by Angela BronnerÂ HelmÂ | Photography by Christopher Mariot
As the train pulls off from Charles de Gaulle Airport station for the twohour rail trip to Cognac, cosmopolitan Paris slowly loosens its grip. The countryside whizzes by in reams of neon green; the landscape morphs into snapshots of horses, windmills, and then miles of vineyards, their symmetric rows of grape vines twisting toward a perfect blue sky.
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We are a motley crew: two journalists; a number of mixologists; several top chefs; andâ€¦ basketball superstar Amarâ€™e Stoudemire and his fiancÃ©e, Alexis Welch (who he proposed to on this very trip!) Blessed by perfect weather, a balmy 88 degrees, we were being hosted by Dâ€™UssÃ© (pronounced â€œdewsayâ€), a new cognac owned by the Bacardi company, and one already fraught with fans in high places, like Jay-Z.
Above photo: Our group basking in the glorious weather, at ChÃ¢teau de Cognac.