|What do the initials V.S.O.P mean?|
A V.S (for Very Special), also called *** (or Three Stars) is at least two and a half years old. Its youngest eau-de-vie is under four and a half years old.
Most Cognac houses will use Cognacs much older than those required by law, allowing X.Os to reach a minimum of twenty years of age, in order to reveal their very best.
'ballon' glass or 'tulipe' glass?
What is the ideal shape for a Cognac glass?
Some of the world's most prestigious restaurants serve their best Cognacs in a gigantic 'ballon' glass. The aroma of the Cognac rises straight into the nose, thus concentrating the smell and overwhelming the taste buds. True connoisseurs choose a smaller glass in a tulip shape. Containing 13cl, it should only be filled with 2.5cl. In such a glass the aroma is concentrated before revealing itself steadily, allowing time to discover its subtle fragrances, observe its delicate color and mellow before even sipping it.
What are the connoisseurs tips to enjoy Cognac?
The experience of a fine Cognac should be one satisfying all senses, sight, olfaction and naturally, taste.
The glass should be filled to a fifth of its volume, in order to leave room for the vapours. It is recommended to warm the glass slightly in the palm of the hand , but never over a flame: this might destroy the delicate aroma of a Cognac.
How should I store my Cognac and for how long?
You should always store your Cognac upright. The Cognac should not be in contact with the cork. Once opened, the air may cause the quality of the Cognac to deteriorate. Therefore, you should drink an opened bottle within several weeks, or transfer it into a smaller decanter. Remember to put the cork back immediately after pouring. Unopened, you can effectively keep your Cognac for ever...
What is the relationship between 'Champagne' and 'Fine Champagne'?
The Websters Dictionary describes 'Champagne' as a 'White sparkling wine made in Champagne, France'. Epernay, near Reims, is considered the capital of Champagne. Why then do we talk of 'Fine Champagne' for Cognac? The word 'champagne' comes from Latin 'campus', or open field.
What does "fine Champagne" stand for?
Only the Cognacs exclusively made from a blend of Grande and Petite Champagne eaux-de-vie, and containing a minimum of 50% of Grande Champagne, may bear the name Fine Champagne.
|Is there a special vocabulary for Cognac? |
The tasting notes of professionals may include words describing the aromas of flowers, fresh fruits, dried fruits, of nuts, spices - pepper and cinnamon are favorites, or even of coffee and cigar boxes! Near Cognac, in Segonzac, capital of Grande Champagne, the International University of Eaux-de-vie will teach you all the secrets of the tasting techniques. You may also try it on-line. For true amateurs only!
Are there millesimes for Cognac?
A Cognac stops maturing as soon as transferred into a sealed glass container. The quality and age of a Cognac depend primarily upon its length of stay in an oaken barrel, therefore the millesime (literally: year of birth) is far less important than for wine.
The law forbids putting a date on most Cognac, as its label reflects the age of the youngest eau-de-vie in its blend. The words 'Chateau' or 'Domaine' are rare since they can only describe a Cognac whose eaux-de-vie all originate from one specific place.
What is the difference between Cognac and brandy?
Brandy is named after the Dutch term 'brandjiwin': It defines a spirit distilled from wine or fermented juice and aged for at least six months in oak casks.
Technically, therefore, all Cognacs are brandies. But while the brandy may be made anywhere in the world, Cognac can only be produced in the Cognac region. A decree passed in 1909 delimits the boundaries of the Cognac production area; later decrees define the laws to follow in order to merit the controlled appellation: Other laws cover topics including the two stage distillation, the maturing in oak casks in warehouses called "jaune d'or" (or golden yellow), reserved specifically for Cognac, the minimum period of aging of approximately 30 months.
The Bureau National Interprofessionel du Cognac (BNIC) is responsible for ensuring that all Cognacs sold adhere to these laws.
Is there such a thing as a "Cognac road"?
Your own unofficial Cognac road will lead you to Roman art in the middle of a vineyard, strolls in the old town of Cognac where King François the First was born, ride a boat on the river, visit the Cognac Museum covering the archeological and artistic history of the region, and witness the making of a barrel, a craft perpetrated over generations.
The largest Cognac houses welcome visitors all year long, and most producers will gladly open their doors to you.
For more information: contact the Tourist Office, BP 247, 16112 Cognac Cedex, or phone: 05 45 82 10 71, fax: 05 45 82 34 47.
What is the best season to visit the Cognac region?
There are many good times to visit the Cognac region, beginning in October, the month of the harvests, or November if you are interested in witnessing the distillation process.
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