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Probably the most famous Brandy the world is following the same town of the Charente region just north of Bordeaux in southwest France near the Atlantic coast named. When the Roman general Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) conquered Gaul, brought his legionaries, the Trebbiano grapes (called here Ugni Blanc) from their home countries, the future for the main grape brandy. According to legend, the name of the Cognac region back to the Roman general Comnus. In the 12th Century was the Spriten on the preservation of a wine by the addition of alcohol. In addition, it was found that was suitable for burning especially the wine from the Cognac region. Around the year 1530 was introduced by the Dutch, the art of distillation in the area, they named the wine distillate "brandewijn," from which the English word derived brandy. From "brandy from Cognac", is where the short-term cognac. The invention of brandy, as we know it today is attributed to the Chevalier de la Croix-Maron, the end of the 16th Century, more or less accidentally discovered that resulted in the (very acidic) the wines from the region after twice firing a pure distillate, just in contrast to other focal wines that require multiple passes until the impurities were removed. The new drink, it quickly became the Dutchman Augustine Godet FrĂ¨res became the first state permission to carry out the cognac. A certain Jean Martell settled in 1715 settled in Cognac and brandy produced, followed by Richard Henne ssy ssy and others whose names are still represented in the market.
Around 1870 came the Phylloxera in this region and destroyed many vineyards in the Charente, with 75,000 hectares of vineyards today only one-third of the time. The basis for 90% of the Cognac production are mainly Ugni Blanc (Here it is called Saint-Emilion), and Colombard and to a lesser extent also Folle Blanche . In 2005, in addition, the new breed Folignan allowed a maximum of 10% of each operation. Already in 1860 the French geologist Henri Coquand got (1813-1881) and a professional spirit investigator commissioned to divide the region in terms of quality. But only in 1909, the boundaries and the production rules have been set. Brandy was also known outside France but continues as Cognac, Hugo Asbach (1868-1935) had marketed its product in 1896 as Cognac brandy. In order to protect their brandy in front of the German competition, translated by the French in the Treaty of Versailles, that may be called only from 1920 brandy from the Cognac area of â€‹â€‹Sun This is one of the few still valid provisions of the Versailles Treaty. By the way, cognac on 18 December 2009, China officially recognized as the first foreign geographical indication.
The Cognac region is located in the southwest of France about 100 kilometers north of Bordeaux. It covers the entire department of Charente-Maritime, a large part of the department of Charente, two enclaves in the departments of Dordogne and Deux-Sevres, and smaller islands off the Atlantic coast. The "RĂ©gion dĂ©limitĂ©e" was divided into six zones, which are arranged in concentric circles around the city of Cognac. From the Grande Champagne area of â€‹â€‹Grande Fine Champagne or even originate the best products, which may also bear this name, (which has nothing to do with the Champagne). About 15% of production comes from here. The soil here is characterized by a high chalk content, this decreases significantly in the no less well-classified areas. The other in the order of quality are Petite Champagne (20%), Les Borderies (5%), Fins Bois (40%), Bons Bois (17%) and Bois Ordinaires (3%). Similarly, maximum yields were (102 hl / ha), defined varieties of distillation and storage methods in law. Cognac may be a product called only when the grapes come from that area, have been distilled here, and here was also maturing. Incidentally, in the Cognac region is the production of Marc prohibited.
The fermentation is carried out without addition of sulfur, yeast and sugar and takes about ten to 21 days. After two to three weeks of storage is the first firing. Here, the fractional method is applied, in contrast to Armagnac is twice fired (Charentais Pot Still). The wine is clarified, that is, the yeast is mitgebrannt it. After the first Distillation there is a distillate (brouillis) with 25 to 30% vol, vol, after the second burning as the Bonne chauffĂ©e (high heat) designated product with a maximum of 72% alcohol content. The cognac is still as clear as water in Oak stored mainly from TronĂ§ais with 340 liter capacity. During storage, the alcohol content increases gradually and the cognac gets its distinctive golden-brown color. After a few years, the distillate is decanted into large drums of 540 liters and more mature. To improve the quality, mostly Cognacs of different ages are blended from various zones. But there are also vintage cognacs in particularly good years (see Early Landed cognac ). The final product with approximately 40% occurs just prior to bottling, diluting with Weakness (Distilled water with a little alcohol). With a few exceptions (as opposed to the Armagnac) in a vintage cognac prohibited acknowledged.
There may be up 2% sucrose and Caramel Sugar may be added. The age is specified by proprietary names, and this refers to the aging in the barrels (after bottling the wine is aged no more fire, this time does not count). Almost every renowned cognac producer has to a special room, called the "paradise". The loss by evaporation is up to 5% per year, this is the "part des Anges" (angel's share) to be replaced by "RĂ©serve des Anges" (RDA) has. The production and aging is the industry association Board (Bureau National Interprofessional du Cognac) closely monitored. The age of the youngest cognacs determined distillate contained. Cognac may not from at least two years of barrel aging to be bottled and sold (Compte account 02 = 02 - then see below). Each distillate is collected and statistically moment with "Compte 00" (Account 00) declared. The first date is 1st April, a cognac with this designation is at least a day to a maximum of three and a half months old (matured in barrel). On 1 April the following year, these spirits then at least one year of barrel aging and receive the designation "Compte 01". This continues until "Compte 06" (six years), then control ends of the BOARD. Vary among cognac houses but the cognac mature until 20 years or longer. Per account are then (among others) and different partial confusing for the layman to find names on the label:
Account 2: three to seven stars Authentic, De Luxe, Elegance, Grand Choix, monopolies, Selection, VS (Very Special and Very Superior)
Account 3: Crest, CuvĂ©e Speciale, Fine Selection Grande, Privilege, QualitĂ© Speciale, superior, Tres Bonne
Account 4: Premiere Croix, Rare, Reserve, Vieux, VO (Very Old), VSOP (Very Special Old Pale or Very Superior Old Pale), VVS (Very Very Very Very Special and Superior)
Account 5: CuvĂ©e Reserve Grande Fine, Grande Reserve, Reserve de la Maison, reserve Particuliere, VVSOP (Very Very Special Old Pale or Very Very Superior Old Pale)
Account 6: Age Inconnu, Extra, Grande Reserve, Hors d'Age, Imperial, Napoleon, XO (Extra Old), rare Tres, Tres Vieux, Vieille Reserve, VXO (Very Extra Old)
A cognac (brandy) is usually characteristic of the Cognac glass drunk with bulbous body. One of the largest and most important Cognac houses, some of which also Armagnac and Champagne , produce, among other things, Gonzalez Byass (Sherry's House), Camus , Courvoisier , Delamain , Desmaurin , Godet FrĂ¨res , Henne ssy ssy, Thomas Hine , Marnier-Lapostolle (Marnier) Martell and Remy Martin . But not all the grapes of the region to be cognac brandy. A portion of the harvest is in the Charente to Vin de pays processed. Classified as AOC Pineau des Charentes alcohol is a strong specialty, a so-called Vin de liqueur . The "esprit de Cognac" Cognac is a high quality light, in the Dosage of champagne as part of the will "liqueur d'ExpĂ©dition" is used because the sugar in it can be solved tasteless.
Worldwide sales of cognac has reached 1.86 billion euros in 2010, an absolute record. Compared with 2009 this represents an enormous increase of almost 30%. The sales volume increased by about 18% to more than 153 million bottles.