What is Cognac?
Cognac is a distinctive wine distillate, always from the Cognac region. The name Cognac comes from the provincial town on the Charente River, northwest of Bordeaux. The wine is double distilled in Alambic Charantais stills and must contain at least 40% alcohol. The distillate, the “Eau de Vie de Vin” is then aged in oak barrels for at least two and a half years. Only if it meets all these conditions, we speak of Cognac.
“In the Netherlands we called it Brandewijn, because the wine was “roasted ” and the English bastardized it to Brandy. With its French origin, the grape as its basis, the maturation in wooden barrels and the strict legislation, it could just be a wine. ”
Cognac is almost always made from white grape wine. The Ugni Blanc, also known as the Saint Emilion, accounts for 90% of Cognac production. It is a small grape with a high acidity and pallet uninspiring in taste. The distillation provides a characterful fortified wine with many aromas. The original name is the Trebbiano. Transferred from Italy where the grape quickly became popular in Cognac, Armagnac and Charente.
Maturation and aging
The aging on oak wood is an important part of the specific properties of Cognac. Usually a Cognac consists of several Cognacs of different ages and / or districts. The age indicates how long the Eau de Vie has matured on the wood and the age of the youngest Cognac from the mixture determines the indication on the bottle. Once bottled, it no longer ages.
The main age indications of Cognac:
- U.S. ***, Very Special or Very Superior – Matured for at least 2.5 years
- V.S.O.P. Very Superior Old Pale or Very Special Old Pale – Matured for at least 4.5 years
- X.O. Extra Old, Extra, X.O, Napoléon – Matured for at least 6 years
- Hors d´Age Matured for at least 10 years
- Millésimé Prepared from one harvest (a reference year)
- XO Premium Matured for over 20 years
The pleasant surprise after the 80-year war
In the 12th century, the Dutch started to burn at sea with white wine – mostly from the Charente region. They burned out the alcohol and then added it to the drinking water of the sea-going vessels so that it remained drinkable for longer and the transport became cheaper. They also realised this in the Charente region and over time distilleries settled here and shipped their wine spirits to Holland in casks. During the Eighty Years’ War, trade stagnated in the early 17th century; the distillate remained in store waiting for transport.
“When this distillate was finally tasted in the Netherlands after the war around 1640, it was discovered that the oak casks had had an exceptional effect on the distillate and Cognac was born.”
Our Cognac – the Makers
The Tercinier family has been making flawless Cognac at Domaine Des Forges in an authentic way for 5 generations. They also call the Domaine “Petit Paradis” because of the wealth of aromas influenced by the soil. In addition to soft and distinctive Cognac, they also deliver amazing Pineau de Charentes and liqueurs. Do you like soft, pure Cognac with honey, vanilla and caramel? Then choose our VSOP. Are you looking for something bolder? Then go for the Napoleon with floral notes, pepper and nuts. If you really go for the rougher work, take the X.O. In addition to honey and caramel, it is rich in leather and tobacco tones. Delicious as an aperitif or to end a nice dinner.