Cognac and Armagnac
France is the largest wine producing nation
in the world, but it is the quality which makes her reputation. Similarly, France
exports only the finest spirits. Cognac and then Armagnac are at the
top of the list. The combination of the soil, climate and distilling and aging
process are unequaled anywhere else. If you've ever been to Cognac, you have experienced
the delight of smelling Cognac the moment you step into town. This is called the
"angels portion," the evaporation of nearly 1% per year as the brandy ages
in the cask. Distillation of this spirit began in the 17th century and soon
attracted a following in England, Holland and Scandinavia. In 1887 Cognac was divided
into regions: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons
Bois and Bois Ordinaires based on decreasing proportions of chalk in the soil which
increases the earthiness of the taste. Nine litres of wine are made into one litre
of brandy through a two-stage distillation process. The brandy is then aged
in oak barrels from Limoges for 5 to 100 years which gives it its distinctive taste
from the tannin and resins from the wood, the oxygen from the air and the rich amber
color. Plan a picnic on the banks of the Charente and then tour the distilleries
and taste this rare brandy: Hennessy, Martell, Rémy-Martin, Otard.
Waterford Crystal Elysian Brandy Glasses and Decanter
Golden trim lends character to these brandy glasses and decanter and adds
elegance to your after-dinner drink service. Made of crystal. with 18-kt.
Moser Churchill Brandy Set
Handcrafted decanter and brandy snifters. Mouth-blown crystal. Set includes
32-oz. decanter and two 29-oz. snifters. Hand wash with mild detergent.
Waterford Elegance Brandy Glass Pair
Fine spirits deserve the full treatment. The Elegance brandy glass is shaped
to enhance every nuance of your favorite brandy, from scent to color to
taste. With a wide, mouth-blown bowl in sparkling Waterford crystal, it
enriches every sip with a perfect unity of style and function.
Reed & Barton Soho Brandy
This popular pattern, inspired by the creative energy of the New York artist
neighborhood, features a generous bowl adorned by a brilliant contemporary
cutting. The delicately etched stemware adds a graceful note to any gathering.
Shown left to right: goblet, wine, flute, iced beverage.
Here are just a few
reference terms as you select French brandy:
Acquit Régional Jaune
d'Or: certificate which guarantees that the brandy comes from Cognac.
age: Brandy improves in wood
for about 50 years. The cost and loss through evaporation are large
which is reflected in the price. Once in the bottle, brandy doesn't
Armagnac: brandy produced
in the Department of Gers and aged in casks of Gascony black oak.
brandies: distilled wine
usually aged in wood. Laws fix the geographic limits of the areas which
may produce under the Cognac or Armagnac labels.
Cognac: brandy distilled
from wines made from grapes of the Charente and Charente Inferieure
Departments. Generally recognized as superior to all other brandies.
of brandies for uniformity over time
eau de vie: spirits,
fine: ordinary brandy
Fine Champagne Cognac: from
the Champagne area which should be the best.
Fine de la Maison:
a restaurant's house brandy--usually not Cognac!
Grand Champagne: the small
district where Cognac is located and which produces the best quality
label abbreviations: E=Especial,
F=Fine, V=Very, O=Old, S=Superior, P=Pale, X=Extra, C=Cognac
limousin oak: from the Limoges
area, used to make Cognac casks.
quality of Cognac: the Cognac
area has 7 subdivisions which in the order of quality are: Grande Champagne,
Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois, Bois Ordinaires,
Bois communs dits à Terroir
spirits: distilled liquors
stars: more stars indicate
better quality. Determined by the producer so this will vary from one
brand to another.
vintage: dated bottle, entirely
from one harvest only in the best years
Cognac. The rest of your
life will wait.
Waterford Stemware, Lismore Brandy Glasses, Set of 2
|Inspired by the eponymous Irish castle, the Lismore pattern
is crafted in thick, premium-quality cut clear crystal. With sparkling
sophistication, these brandy glasses are perfect for fine entertaining
or enjoying everyday drinks in grand style. Each holds 12 oz.
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