Where Brandy can refer to a number of distilled spirits, Cognac is a specific region in France. To have ‘Cognac’ on the label, the brandy must be produced inside the region of Cognac, situated in western France, north of Bordeaux’s right bank and South of the Loire Valley. Ugni Blanc is the most commonly used variety with the grapes coming from six crus: Grand Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaries, where the peak is Grand and Petite Champagne. There are some 500 growers in total and exports range about 200M bottles per year. Having reseeded in the last few years, along with Whisky, Cognac is due for a serious comeback. The grapes are super high acid, low alcohol that is twice distilled in copper stills. This ‘eau de vie’ is then aged in oak casks for a minimum of two years which can increase drastically. Blending takes enormous skill, to bring together these aged eau de vies in a harmonious and continuous style, cellar masters are highly regarded and often well paid. Cognacs can last for generations with ease. There are big names in Cognac such as Remy Martell or Hine, Courvoisier etc. Seek out the smaller names and you will come across some truly exciting creations, family secrets and hidden gems, where the alcohol is just a by product of a mystical and utterly fascinatingly delicious spirit.
See our producers Audry Cognac