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Cognac

The king of brandies, it is the result of the mastery of man and generosity of nature, a masterpiece unique in its kind

 Cognac is a distilled of wine which is produced after a long period of aging in oak casks. Cognac basically is a brandy, obtained by the distillation of wines produced in a particular area in France which is located around the city having the same name of the famous brandy. Cognac is a lovely city where the village landscapes, shaped by the years, reminds of traditions as ancient as cognac itself, where the smell of “part des anges” is in the air and the memory of histories, now lost in time, comes to mind and frees from the stressful modern times. The first written evidences of cognac are dated back to 1638 and the first bulk distillation took place about in the seventeenth century.

 

Area of Production

 The origin of cognac is dated back to the 1600's. The area of production is located in France, precisely in the region of Charentes, with a small part in Dordogne and Deux Sèvres. The region, located in the western part of France, north from Bordeaux and with an area of about 80,000 hectares (about 198,000 acres), is favored by a climate particular suited for the cultivation of vine. It is in this region the Atlantic climate meets the continental climate and the whole region has recognized to the AOC rank (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée). The area has been regulated by the so called “cru map”, emanated in 1909, which divides the region into six official wine areas, called “cru”. These areas are called as follows:

 

  • Grande Champagne - Produces light and very refined cognacs, with a dominant aroma of flowers, and which takes a long period of aging in order to reach full maturity
  • Borderies - Located north from the city of Cognac, thanks to its particular microclimate produces round and sweet brandies which generally age faster than Champagne's brandies
  • Petite Champagne - Thanks to the influence of the oceanic climate, cognacs produced in this area are characterized by an excellent finesse, just like Grande Champagne's brandies
  • Fins Bois - Produces bodied and round cognacs, with dominant aromas of fruit and that age quickly
  • Bons Bois - In this area, which completely surrounds the one of Fins Bois, are produced pretty rough and aggressive cognacs that generally age in pretty short times
  • Bois à Terroir or Bois Ordinaire - Located along the coast of Atlantic ocean, produces coarser brandies with a pronounced earthy taste


The six crus of cognac

The six crus of cognac

 The division of the areas was determined according to the calcareous percentage of soils and according to local climate. In order to safeguarding the quality of the product they also decided to regulate the type of vines allowed for the production of the brandy. The main grape used for the production of cognac is Ugni Blanc, name with which Trebbiano Toscano is known in France and locally called Saint-Emilion. Other grapes used for the production of cognac, although marginally, are Folle Blanche and Colombard. Wines produced with these grapes are very light, with a low percentage of alcohol and a high percentage of acidity, particularly suited for distillation. Every area has a proper climate and soil which contribute to characterize every vineyard and producing wines, therefore brandies, with different organoleptic qualities and different aging capacities.

 The area and the raw matter are not the only factors which characterize the brandy: in the production of cognac the distillation technique is of fundamental importance. Wines from the “Grande Champagne” and the “Petite Champagne” produce very aromatic brandies, with floral and fruity hints, which become very elegant after a long aging. In the “Borderies” area are produced famous brandies having the characteristic aroma of violet, and when allowed to age for many years, they become bodied and round. The areas of “Bois” produce the most robust brandies, and thanks to their capacity of aging quickly, they are very appreciated in the production of blends.

(Dwinetaste)