Cognac and Its Elaboration
- I have an old bottle of Cognac: could you help me determine its value?
You could contact directly the company that markets that brand of Cognac, you can ask it to me or you could ask it on the Cognac Forum!
You should know that the value of a Cognac is in a great way proportional to the time it has aged in oak casks. Once it is bottled, it no longer ages.
- What is the difference between Cognac and Brandy?
Like Cognac, the word “brandy” belongs to the category of wine eaux-de-vie, of which you will find the exact definition in our Glossary.
However, Cognac is a wine eau-de-vie of a Controlled Appellation of Origin, and as such is subject to strict elaboration and commercialization rules that distinguishes it from brandies.
- What are the differences between Grande Champagne Cognac and Fins Bois Cognac?
Those are different cru’s in the Cognac Region, read more about it in our Cognac Regions article.
- Until what age may Cognac become old?
Every eau-de-vie has its own personality: based on the growth area where it comes from and the conditions in which the spirit has aged, the eau-de-vie’s ageing will evolve differently.
Certain eaux-de-vie can age until they reach 70. In any case, the Cellar Master will be very careful not to leave the spirit in oak casks for longer than it is advised so that they are kept at their peak. They are then transferred to glasses known as Demi-Johns where they may rest for many decades without being modified.
- Does Cognac continue to age in a bottle?
The particularity of what is known as “ageing” is an interaction between the spirit and alcohol (liberation of tannins). Thus, once it is transferred to a bottle, a cognac can no longer age.
- Is the “Champagne” growth area in any way related to the Champagne region?
The “Champagne” growth area is in no way related to the famous region where Champagne is made, except for the origin of the word “champagne” (in old French, “champaigne”), which comes from the Latin “campania”, meaning countryside or open field (as opposed to wooded areas).
- May Cognac be produced in a region different to the Cognac Region?
NO. The Cognac Production Area was delimited in 1909.
It includes the Charente-Maritime department, a great part of the Charente department, and several districts of Deux-Sèvres and Dordogne.
- Why are wine cellars walls and roofs black?
It is the work of a fungus known as “Torula compniacensis”, which feeds on alcohol vapors and covers with black velvet the walls and rooftops of this region.
The Cognac Range
- What do VS, VSOP, and XO mean?
- Why are these acronyms in English and not in French?
When the history of Cognac is studied, we learn that most of the main initial trading posts were created by the Anglo-Saxons.
- Which Cognac goes well with each type of drink?
The choice of a specific Cognac depends on the way it is going to be consumed, but it also depends on taste. Normally, a younger Cognac (type VS) should be chosen to have as cocktail or long drink. To enjoy a Cognac straight, you should select one that has aged for many years (Napoléon, XO, old reserve, etc.). “VSOP” Cognacs may be enjoyed both as a long drink and straight, after a meal. Very old Cognacs develop a “rancio” flavor and are specially appreciated by connoisseurs.
- For how long may I store Cognac?
If the bottle is protected from light, its has not been opened, and the cork has not been altered, you may preserve the bottle for a long time, as it will be well kept. However, be aware that contrary to wine, Cognac does not age in the bottle, so it will not improve with time.
- For how long may I keep an open bottle of Cognac?
It is recommended to drink the Cognac in the months that follow the bottle’s opening, or to transfer the contents to a smaller bottle in order to avoid the oxidation that could deteriorate the Cognac’s quality.
Wineries and Producers
- What is a “Cognac Winery”?
It is the term currently used in the region to describe a company that markets Cognac.
- What is the difference between a Cognac Winery and a Producer?
We use the term “Cognac House” to refer to a wholesaler and the term “Producer” to refer to a wine-grower who may also be a direct vendor.
- Where can I find a list of Cognac Wineries and Producers?
See the list of Cognac Links!
- How many Cognac Wineries are there?
There are over 300 Cognac Houses (wholesalers), close to 600 direct vendors and a few co-ops.