Cognac | A Distilled PDO Wine

Cognac | A Distilled PDO Wine

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Bicchiere di cognac su botte di vino

Cognac which is protected by the PDO certification, is nothing more than a brandy, a distilled wine aged in oak barrels. It’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it can only be produced with wine products from the Charentes reion in western France. The climate in this region is a mix of continental and Atlantic weather which gives this local wine product a peculiar character.

The first brandy was produced in 1600. Story has it that the Dutch taught locals how to distill wine with the technique they used which made it possible to transport wine from the North Sea after commencing trade in southern France. From that point onwards, the distillation process has been refined and perfected and never modified. The main grape varieties used to make cognac are Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard with a few rare exceptions including Sémillon and Montils.

The timing of distillation has also essentially remained the same. The time frame for distillation is from September 1 to March 31. This is the period when copper stills (ideal for preventing contamination due to smells and unpleasant tastes) are heated, bringing the liquid to double distillation in order to produce a brandy that has a distinguishable purity to it.

Once the 2 distillations are complete, the product is transferred for aging into oak barrels from the Limousin and Troncais forests. This particular wood gives the cognac its amber color and characteristic aromas. Aging is a crucial process that can last anywhere from 30 months to a few years (sometimes even 10 but no more than 60). The mixing is the next important process which consists of diluting and mixing various cognac vintages from different vineyards. This is a true art form which is headed only by masters of the trade in order to create the smoothest and most quality product possible.

Over time, this process has developed into something special which guarantees both quality and taste. Cognac is then ready to be served at a temperature of 20-22° and always in a Tulip glass which helps decanter the brandy. This heavy-bellied glass with a narrow entrance allows aromas to be released, assisted by the heat from cupped hands and is then at its finest.

Over time  convoglino tutti verso il naso, per un’esplosione di profumi e di sapore.