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Cognac History from the early Century To 21st Century

Cognac is a product with a long history. It is difficult to say, how cognac appeared. When we think of this french brandy we tend to start out from the 17th century because that was when the “twice distillation process” was started. However, it is important to note that the birth of cognac relates way back before that, dating almost back to the 3rd century.
Because since the end of the Middle Ages, the wine trade had been developed from the port of Bordeaux. The Saintonge vineyards were probably created in the last quarter of the 3rd century A.D. It was when the Roman emperor Probus extended the privilege.

Wine was then indispensable to provide daily drinking needs for the sailors, who were making long sea voyages and who couldn’t keep their drinking water for very long. During the second half of the 16th century, many Dutch ships came to the Charente to look for the famous “Champagne” and “Borderies” vintages.

The marriage of Alienor of Aquitaine with Henry Plantagenet had thrown the Guyenne over to the English, who established, in the 18th century, a monopoly of the wine production and commercialization in Aquitaine.

Facing this competition, the North European merchants developed, with the Dutch impetus, two new wine-growing regions :

- one to the south of Bordeaux, which later became the Gers vineyard (Armagnac), with an access to the sea via Adour basin,
- the other one to the north of Bordeaux, in the Charentes (Cognac), its production having been transported on the river Charente and from the port of La Rochelle.

Wine was then indispensable to provide daily drinking needs for the sailors, who were making long sea voyages and who couldn’t keep their drinking water for very long. During the second half of the 16th century, many Dutch ships came to the Charente to look for the famous “Champagne” and “Borderies” vintages.

In the 17th century, the Dutch acquired a habit of importing the Charente vineyard’s products in the form of brandy, which meant a reduced cargo volume and was thus cheaper to transport. Once mixed with water, this product recieved the name of “Brandywine”. It was also noticed that this brandy, traditionally kept in cask, improved with age and could be drank dry.

During the first quarter of XX A.D. the vineyards were reduced, using American investments, however they have not achieved the previous output level. The careful attitude improved considerably the harvest; the decrees were published, which regulated each stage of cognac production. These decrees control the process of cognac production, which now becomes a very valuable and popular drink.

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  1. adele #
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    Wine was then indispensable to provide daily drinking needs for the sailors, who were making long sea voyages and who couldn’t keep their drinking water for very long. During the second half of the 16th century, many Dutch ships came to the Charente to look for the famous “Champagne” and “Borderies” vintages. In the 17th century, the Dutch acquired a habit of importing the Charente vineyard’s products in the form of brandy, which meant a reduced cargo volume and was thus cheaper to transport. Once mixed with water, this product recieved the name of “Brandywine”. It was also noticed that this brandy, traditionally kept in cask, improved with age and could be drank dry. That’s how the “cognac” was born. During the 17th and 18th centuries, certain enterprising merchants founded, in principal region’s cities, trading posts and started to export their cognac to the North America, West Indies and Indian Ocean Islands. Toward 1830, these companies acquired little by little a habit of exporting the cognac in bottles instead in casks. Apart from the specificities of each production, different kinds of cognac were distinguished by their origin and their age.



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