Cognac, in the English speaking world also referred to as “brandy”, is a alcoholic beverage that has its origins in the Cognac region in Charente, France. Similar to Champagne, the actual name Cognac can only be given to the spirit if it is produced in the Cognac “appellation”, the region around the town of Cognac.
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It is distilled from spirit made from the white Ugni Blanc grape. The grapes are harvested, pressed and fermented. Then the “wine” gets distilled twice in copper pot stills and then needs to age for at least 2 years in big French oak barrels made in central France.
Initially, cognac was a bit of an accident, because the wine was the left-over from the throwaway grapes from the wine production. It was considered a drink for the poor, until it was later on perfected in its exquisiteness. Cognac is produced from the spirit that is called by the French “eau-de-vie”, literally “water of life”. There are six cognac zones that define the quality of the grapes and later on of course also of the cognac itself: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bon Bois and Bois Ordinaire.