What are the different vineyards of the Cognac region?
The cognac is a spirit made from white wine by distillation. Since 1938, there are 6 different crus in the region of cognac according to the soil, the climate and the aromas of the grapes. Each cru has its own characteristics that change according to the geographical areas.
The Grande Champagne
The Grande Champagne is the first cru of cognac appellation. It is renowned for producing eau-de-vies of an extreme fineness with a large range of aromas.
This vineyard represents an area of 34 700 hectares in which 17% are used for vines. The soils are made of clay and limestone with a temperate climate.
The Grande Champagne is situated in the department of Charente. Its capital is Segonzac where the Maison Painturaud Frères is based. The cognacs from this cru can have the designation of origin “Cognac Grande Champagne” or “Cognac Grande Fine Champagne”.
Part of Charente and Charente Maritime, the area of Petite Champagne is estimated to 66 000 hectares with 15 000 hectares dedicated to make cognac. The main towns of the Petite Champagne are Barbezieux, Archiac and Jonzac.
This vineyard has many similarities with the Grande Champagne. Their main differences are in the soil: the limestone layers are thinner in Petite Champagne. As the two vineyards are very close, they are enjoying the same climatic conditions. The eau-de-vies coming from exclusively this vineyard can have the designation of origin “Cognac Petite Champagne”. “Cognac Fine Champagne” isn’t a vineyard but a protected designation of origin from a blend of at least 50% of Grande Champagne eau-de-vie completed with cognac from Petite Champagne.
This is the cognac smallest vineyard. Known for its the eau-de-vie sweetness and roundness with nice violet flavours, the flavours come largely from the clay soil.
Borderies represents 4000 hectares of vines benefiting from an oceanic climate. The eau-de-vie doesn’t need to be aged as much as eau-de-vie from Grande Champagne or Petite Champagne to have a unique quality.
The Fins Bois vineyard is situated all around the 3 first vineyards listed before. It represents 31 200 hectares and is cognac biggest vineyard. The eau-de-vie from Fins Bois have fruity notes with roundness. Because of the clay soil, the cognac ageing is fast. It gives a good balance of flavours. The eau-de-vie from Fins Bois have the appellation “Cognac Fins Bois ».
This vineyard is 9300 hectares large. The soil is less chalky and gives fruity flavours but it gives less fineness to the eau-de-vie than the other vineyards before. The eau-de-vie from Bons Bois have the appellation « Cognac Bons Bois ».
The Bois Ordinaire vineyard refers to a 260 000 hectares zone where 1.5% (1100 hectares) are used for cognac production. It goes from the Atlantic Ocean (Ile d’Oleron, Ile de Ré) to Deux Sèvres and even to Dordogne. The vineyards close to the ocean gives specific flavours and sometimes a salty taste.
Sometimes still called Bois à Terroir, the Bois Ordinaire vineyard has close characteristics to Fins Bois and Bons Bois. The eau-de-vie has the appellation “Cognac Bois Ordinaires ».