Brandy and cognac are both distilled spirits that share many characteristics but also many differences. What is this spirit called Brandy, loved by the Dutch and now produced in many places around the world? What is Brandy? Brandy is an alcoholic beverage produced by distillation of grapes. The word Brandy comes the Dutch « brandewijn » which can be translated by burned wine and refers to the heat felt while drinking the spirit. We can identify it with its ambered colour due to the ageing in barrels. The first Brandy was made during the 12th century. It was only produced by doctors and apothecaries and used as medicine. Distillation was not authorized in France until the 16th century. What are
Cognac is a perfect example of France winegrowing know how. Produced in the region of the same name, the amber coloured spirit is sold all over the world. It’s one of the most exported French products. For example, 216.5 million bottles were sold in 2019. But how to choose great cognac. Here is some advice: According to the age and the vineyard The taste of cognac is very different from a producer to another. According to the vineyard and the age, each cognac has different flavours and specific notes. Depending on the age, there are: – Cognac VS (Very Special) with at least 2 years old eau-de-vie – VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) with at least 4 years old
Once the distillation is finished, it’s now time to place the new eau-de-vie in oak barrels. This step is essential for the development of the eau-de-vie. Maturating cognac The long process of ageing cognac takes sometimes decades. This is made possible thanks to the porous nature of the wood that enables interactions between the eau-de-vie and the air. Thereby, these interactions with oak wood are changing the eau-de-vie colour going from golden yellow to fiery brown. This exchange with oak’s natural characteristics leads with time to the creation of the « rancio » and the development of the unique cognac aromas. The Cellar Master The work of the Cellar Master is a result of a great experience. Through the Cellar Master,
Come and meet us at the international trade fair Wine Paris 2020 from February 10th to February 12th. You will be able to discover our new cognac packaging in preview! Our address: 4E228
We use a still known as Charentais, all made of copper, to produce our eaux-de-vie. The wine starts in the boiler and brought to boil. Alcohol fumes are released, they gather in the Hat, move to the Swan’s neck then down the Coil. When in contact with the refrigerant, the alcohol fumes condense and flow into “brouillis”. This slightly cloudy liquid measures between 28 and 32% in volume. It is then poured into the boiler for a second distillation, this is called “la bonne chauffe”. The distiller then proceeds a very delicate task, “la coupe”. The first portion “les têtes” is very high in alcohol and put aside (1-2% volume). Then comes “le cœur”, an eau-de-vie clear and limpid
A LEGENDARY ORIGIN
According to legend, pineau des Charentes was created by a Charentais wine-grower by accident in 1859. The man poured by mistake grape must (juice) in a barrel that already had cognac eau-de-vie. A few years later, after a big harvest, the precious barrel was needed. He discovered a beautiful drink, pineau des Charentes.
Cognac is a subtle blend of different eaux-de-vie from different years with the goal to get an aromatic bouquet and a constant quality in the desired Cognac.
A prestigious and unique eau-de-vie, cognac is known all over the planet. Thanks to its aromas developed over the years by the interaction with the wood in barrels, the contact with air and the blending work done by the cellar master, cognac reveals an aromatic richness and a unique taste.
When it comes to choosing a bottle of Cognac, the range of different grades on offer can make selecting the best one a little complicated. The labels on the bottles are printed with V.S., X.O., V.S.O.P. and there are sometimes stars on the classification too. The price of each of the Cognac grades varies a great deal as well, so what does it all mean? What is the difference between a VSOP Cognac and XO Cognac ? Have a look at our guide to the classification of Cognac so you can understand what you are buying. The Classification of Cognac What is the difference between brandy, Cognac, Armagnac and Calvados? Firstly, it is important to know that Cognac