A Cool Primer on Cognac
on 15/12/10 at 10:52 am
A cognac pot still
Cognac (pronounced /ˈkɒnjæk/ KON-yak), named after the town of Cognac in France, is a famous variety of brandy.
It is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it takes its name, in the French Departements of Charente and Charente-Maritime.
As an Appellation d’origine contrôlée, in order to bear the name Cognac, the production methods for the distilled brandy must meet specified legal requirements.
It must be made from certain grapes (see below); of these, Ugni Blanc, known locally as Saint-Emilion, is the most widely-used variety today.
It must be distilled twice, in copper pot stills, and aged at least two years in French oak barrels from Limousin or Tronçais.
Most cognacs are aged considerably longer than the minimum legal requirement, because cognac matures in the same way as whiskies and wines, when aged in a barrel.