Exotic journey in the heart of the Bambouseraie de Matha

Matha
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Exotic journey in the ...
Originally from China where it has been cultivated for over 7000 years, bamboo has inspired our imaginations through the centuries for its purity, elegance and the zenitude it confers. Today, there is no need to travel to the other side of the world to discover the world of bamboo because these exotic plants have adapted to many climates, including the temperate climate of Charente-Maritime. Direction the village of Matha located 15 km from Cognac for an unexpected trip to the heart of a splendid tropical bamboo grove, lovingly maintained since 1999 by its creator Joan Brisson!

Bambouseraie de Matha
Bambouseraie de Matha

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La Bambouseraie de Matha, a change of scenery guaranteed in Charente-Maritime

When crossing the small town of Matha, it is impossible to suspect that behind the walls of an old wine farmhouse hides a real botanical treasure! However, Cognac producer and passionate lover of the plant world Joan Brisson opens the doors of his estate to the public to share his love of plants and accompany visitors in an exploration of the bamboo grove that he began to plant more than 20 years. A guided tour that promises to plunge us into another world!


Bambouseraie de Matha
Bambouseraie de Matha  Bambouseraie de Matha
Bambouseraie de Matha

 

To access this haven of peace with lush vegetation, we cross Joan's workshop, walk along the distillery to cross a small artisanal gate. Joan is waiting for us at the entrance and it is in a small group that we follow her footsteps to discover the botanical garden. Son of a winegrower, Joan has always cultivated a passion for plants. But it was in 1998, during a visit to the bamboo grove of the Cévennes in Anduze, rich in more than 1000 varieties of bamboo, that he became fascinated by these spectacularly growing grass plants and decided to plant his own bamboo grove in Charente. -Maritime, a region conducive to this culture due to its deep, light and humid soil.  

Immersion in the magical world of bamboo  

The adventure of this exotic collection begins modestly with two species of bamboo that Joan has enriched over the years by collecting various rhizomes during her numerous trips to the four corners of the world but also thanks to the community of enthusiasts of the European Bamboo Association. with which it is affiliated. Little by little, he plants different varieties and creates a meticulously organized plant world.


Bambouseraie de Matha
Bambouseraie de Matha


This is because bamboo rhizomes grow rapidly wherever they find free space and become entangled with each other. Joan takes care to mark out specific corners for each species so that they do not quickly become invasive. The result is breathtaking! Joan's collection now includes nearly 60 different varieties of bamboo, varying according to the density of the foliage as well as the size: from dwarf bamboo between 20 cm to 1.50 m to giant bamboo exceeding 15 meters in height. The leaves are very diverse both in size and in the evergreen color variegated with yellow or off-white in some varieties.   They are also distinguished by their graphic and colorful rods ranging from golden yellow to ebony black through steel blue, deep green, purple, turquoise, or by their streaked, tortuous or smooth appearance depending on the species.  

We go from surprise to surprise as we stroll through the heart of the many small gardens that make up its botanical collection. Joan takes pleasure in guiding this visit by making a stop in front of each type of bamboo accompanied by an explanation and a little anecdote! Do you know, for example, that flowering can lead to the death of bamboo?   Do you also know that there are sporadic blooms (a single subject) which extend over decades, and gregarious blooms which concern the whole species on the whole of the globe? Fascinating, isn't it?


Bambouseraie de Matha
Bambouseraie de Matha  Bambouseraie de Matha
Bambouseraie de Matha


This expert in the field instinctively transmits his overflowing enthusiasm for these incredible plants to us and makes this visit of 1.5 hours a unique experience of complicity with nature.


Bambouseraie de Matha

The star of giant bamboo is the Phyllostachys, renowned for its rapid growth and flexibility

Bambouseraie de Matha  Bambouseraie de Matha

Exotic and Mediterranean plants

Bambouseraie de Matha  Bambouseraie de Matha
Bambouseraie de Matha  Bambouseraie de Matha


If bamboos hold the spotlight, this surprising visit is also an opportunity to discover very beautiful specimens of flowers, tropical plants, aquatic species around a body of water, medicinal plants, carnivores, aphrodisiacs and shamanic plants. , exotic vegetables and more than 30 species of Mediterranean plants which coexist in the most perfect harmony. In this veritable plant labyrinth, Joan invites us to touch, smell and even taste certain rare plants from four continents. Among the most astonishing, passionflower, hibiscus, frangipani, cotton flower, Longa turmeric, Sichuan pepper, penis pepper amaze us. All our senses are awake. We meet the privileged inhabitants of this large garden: ducks, cranes and Asian pheasants.


Bambouseraie de Matha

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Visit of the distillery and tasting of Cognac

Brisson distillery
Brisson distillery  Brisson distillery

During this visit, we also discover the Brisson family distillery. A true alchemist, Joan reveals to us the secrets of the elaboration of this precious brandy renowned throughout the world. From the pruning of the vines to the harvest, from vinification to distillation, from assembly to aging, all the nobility of ancestral know-how creates the excellence of this spirit with a wonderful amber color. Absorbed by Joan's explanations, we take the time to observe the color, appearance, clarity, viscosity and tears of this eau-de-vie with its distinctive aromas.  

Then comes the long-awaited moment of tasting its cognacs: the youngest is the VS cognac, followed by the VSOP cognac, the Vieille Réserve and finally the XO, the oldest. On the look, on the nose or in the mouth, we capture all the subtlety and identity of the elixir with its elegance and unique aromatic richness. An explosion of flavors for the taste buds!


Useful information :

Bambouseraie de Matha  

Bambouseraie Joan Brisson

16 rue du Moulin

17160 MATHA

Phone: 05 46 58 25 07


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Article and photos prepared by Lesley Williamson for the Charente Maritime Guide


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