Cognac,  Food and Beverage

Cognac: The History and the Art of Enjoying Cognac

The History of Cognac, dating back four centuries, Cognac, was a recognized wine-growing area long before cognac was ‘invented”, this area has wine producing records that date back to the 3rd century AD.

Both the region and the beverage Cognac has a long history; rich with tales of  nations, merchants, kings and aristocrats, wars, cold winters and hardships. Despite all this, as it aged, the product kept getting better and better, century after century. Some have referred to it as “the spirit of the gods”.

What is Cognac?

Cognac is a brandy distilled from white wine and produced in the vicinity of Cognac. According to the official site for Cognac Tourism, it is defined as:

The grape which is harvested comes exclusively from a white variety (ugni blanc). The wine is then distilled in special Charentais stills. The “heart” of the second distillation will become cognac after having aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 2 1/2 years, after which it can be sold on the market. The main categories obtained from the blending of eaux-de-vie of different ages and different growth areas are:

*** and V.S.

minimum age of the youngest eau-de-vie used in the blend must be 2 1/2 years

V.S.O.P.

4 1/2 years. Very Superior Old Pale

Napoléon and X.O.

6 1/2 years

Each company, in order to obtain the uniqueness of its categories of cognac, uses eaux-de-vie which are much older than the minimum requirement.

Cognac is an alcohol whose special characteristics depend on four conditions :

The vines

80 000 hectares (200 000 acres) of vines, unique climatic conditions, the soil and the proximity of the sea make the Charente region “a happy chance of nature, a lucky exception”.

Double distillation

Double distillation in Charentais pot stills.

Ageing

The ageing of cognac can only take place in barrels made of oak from the Limousin or Tronçais forests. In fact the eau-de-vie will only become cognac after a slow ageing process in oak specially selected for its capacity to transfer the tanins when in contact with the alcohol, thus giving it colour and “bouquet”.

Blending

The blending operation and the know-how of the “maître de chai” are handed down from generaton to generation.

Enjoying Cognac

  1. First, it is necessary to choose a proper wineglass. It is recommended that you use a tulip shaped glass.
  2. Pour 20-25 ml of cognac pour into the wineglass and heat in the palm of your hand for 8-10 minutes.

Savoring Cognac

Look

Hold the glass up to the light, and look at the wine. Enjoy the appearance of the color – it is indicative of the age. The lighter the cognac, the younger the cognac.

Sniff

Take a sniff placing your nose at the edge of the glass and inhale. Swirl the glass and sniff again. In cognac there are many scents to detect, such as: floral scents like violets, iris, rose; fruit scents like pear, cherry, apricot, plum, fig, quince, grapefruit, jasmine, chestnut, orange zest, nut, or peach. Cognac pairs beautifully with chocolate or coffee.

Sip

Take a sip, let the flavors dance on your tongue, swirl it about your mouth, let the wine warm on the palate before taking another. Enjoy the sensation of this special wine fill your head.
 A luxurious evening awaits with a snifter of cognac and an espresso!
Note:
If you are going to blend a cognac for cocktails, use a VS or VSOP.

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