Cognac is a Brandy made from grapes. Its production area is centered around Cognac, encompassing much of the Charente, almost all of the Charente-Maritime, and some enclaves in the Dordogne and in the Deux-Sèvres. It must respect the standards and specific production rules. Since 1936, Cognac is recognized as AOC.
From 1938, it is composed of various vintages:
- Grande Champagne, 1er cru cognac, whose finest brandies come,
- Petite Champagne eaux-de-vie of great finesse,
- Borderies, faster maturation that the great and the small champagne,
- Wood Fins, the largest production area, fruit eaux-de-vie,
- Good Wood, which appear terroir tastes,
- Regular or local Bois of rapid maturation and oceanic influences.
The distillation is carried out in two heaters, by means of a Charentais still. Wine and his lees are distilled once,
this is the first heater, measuring around 30% by volume: the distiller separates, depending on the alcohol content
of his nose and his know-how, the heads (first condensate ), tails (last condensate) and brouillis.
This brouillis undergoes a second distillation "good heating" which gives clear water spirits, fragrant and very
On leaving the still, the eau-de-vie is housed in oak barrels and kept for years, out of a winery.
The aging accentuates the aromas and flavors of Cognac, while the progressive reduction of the alcohol, produced by atmospheric exchanges, mitigates fire.
Cellar master privilege, assembly of spirits marrying allows aromas and flavors of cognacs and even different vintages to obtain the desired bouquet.
The main cognac trade names are:
- *** Or VS (Very Special): The youngest eau-de-vie of the blend is aged at least 2 years,
- VSOP Reserve or VO (Very Superior Old Pale or Very Old): The youngest eau-de-vie of the blend is aged 4 to a minimum,
- XO, Extra or Napoleon (Extra Old): The youngest eau-de-vie of the blend is aged 6 to a minimum.
Nevertheless, producers usually offer older cognacs. In these cases, the trade names are not standardized.