Cognac & Armagnac France. Cognac, France Cognac: Franceâ€™s best-known brandy...
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Cognac & Armagnac France Slide 2 Cognac, France Cognac: Frances best-known brandy Peaceful countryside 100 miles north of Bordeaux Medieval town with elegant Renaissance facades Pastoral landscape with stone farmhouses along the fields Region also known for its butter, snails, natural sea salts, and brandy Brandy: ("burnt wine") is a spirit produced by distilling wine Slide 3 Cognac Overview Drinks must be made according to strictly-defined regulations to be named Cognac Consists of six vineyard growth areas, called Crus: 1. Grande Champagne *Best Growth 2. Petite Champagne 3. Borderies 4. Fins Bois 5. Bon Bois 6. Bois Ordinaire Cognac second biggest wine region of France, right after Bordeaux Origine Controle Cognac (AOC) appellation totals 790 million square meters of vineyards Slide 4 6 Crus of the Cognac Region 6 Crus of the Cognac Region Slide 5 Cognac Process Each Cru has different fragrance - flowers, green fruits (apple, pear), grapes Produced by blending a variety of "Eau de Vie Eau de Vie: French for water of life. A clear, colorless fruit brandy that is produced by means of fermentation and double distillation 98% of the Cognac vineyards are planted with Ugni Blanc Ugni Blanc: produces wines with elevated levels of acidity and low alcohol, fairly neutral in taste Slide 6 Cognac Process The Cognac Still: known as alambic Charentaise Distillation process: 1.Heat wine until it boils 2.Purely condense its vapors 3.Reconvert this steam into liquid form again 4.Repeat 2 nd distillation or Bonne Chauffe Quality controlled by length of time Cognac is matured in oak barrels The longer the Cognac matures barrel, the smoother it is Once bottled, no further development takes place Slide 7 Armagnac, France Armagnac: grape brandy from the Gascony region of southwestern France One of the first areas to begin distilling spirits Granted AOC status in 1936 Situated between the Atlantic and the Pyrnes Mountains Generous amount of sunshine through winter, rainfall in the spring which nourishes vineyards with a warm summer Volume of production is far smaller than Cognac production Slide 8 Armagnac Official production areas divided into 3 districts: 1.Bas-Armagnac Grapes grow in acidic, argillaceous and stony ground Iron rust colors parts of the soil 2.Armagnac-Tnarze Soil consists mainly of limestone, sand and clay The Tnarze distillate is considered to be the strongest-tasting Armagnac 3.Haut-Armagnac Area is called "white Armagnac" because of the abundance of limestone Vineyards are scattered like islands over the chalky clay hills Slide 9 Armagnac Process 4 grapes commonly used: 1.Folle Blanche: light-to-medium-bodied wine low in alcohol (7%- 9%), high in acidity 2.Ugni Blanc: produces wines with elevated levels of acidity and low alcohol, fairly neutral in taste Comprises 55% of the grapes used for Armagnac Contain pleasing floral aromatics that tend to accentuate the spice notes from the oak 3.Colombard: aroma is slightly herbal and reminiscent of freshly mown hay 4.Bacco: full-bodied, with plenty of fat and volume With age expresses jammy dried plum notes Different grapes = different aromas, flavors, and different weights and textures on the palate Slide 10 Armagnac Process Use a single continuous distillation rather than double batch distillation Distillation process: 1.Heat wine until it boils 2.Purely condense its vapors 3.Reconvert this steam into liquid form again Retains earthy and fruity flavors in the finished spirit Gains much of its character and flavor during aging Quality is dependent on the period of time the brandy spends in wood As it matures, it turns from being a clear to an amber color Absorbs tannins and other flavors from the oak Slide 11 A.C.: 2 years old, aged in wood V.O., Very Old: Aged minimum of 4 years V.S., Very Special: Aged 3 years in wooden casks, often called Three Star V.S.O.P., Very Superior Old Pale: Minimum aging 8 years in wood for youngest blend - industry average is between 10 and 15 years old, known as Five Star X.O., Extra Old: Also called Luxury, minimum age of 8 years. Napoleon/Extra/Vielle Reserve: At least 4 years old= Varietal: Made using only one type of varietal grape Vintage: Aged and bottled in the year of the vintage Hors d'Age: Too old to figure out the age; true gem Grades of Cognac & Armagnac Slide 12 Summary: Basic Differences Grapes Armagnac grapes split between Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, Colombard, and Bacco Cognac grapes comprised of 98% Ugni Blanc Geography Armagnac's best grapes grown on sandy soil in warm temperatures Cognac's best grapes grown on chalky soil with mild temperatures Distillation Armagnac often single-distilled in a alambic Cognac required to be twice distilled in a pot still Vintage Traditional Armagnac given a vintage date Cognac vintages extremely rare usually a blend of various vintages Single Varietal Single-varietal Armagnac is common, especially Folle Blanche One rarely sees a varietal printed on a Cognac label Slide 13 Cognac & Armagnac France