THE COGNAC :
In the Gallo -Roman period , the vineyard was already stretched from Saintonge to La Rochelle. In the thirteenth century , vintners banks of the Charente produce a very appreciated by the Court of France light wine .
The Birth of Cognac :
Under the leadership of the King of England , husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine, they also export to northern Europe. But the freight is expensive and maritime travel affects the quality of the wine. To overcome these problems , growers had the idea to distill their production. Stored in oak barrels , it bonifiait with time but was not brandy. It was not until the late sixteenth century and the development of double distillation , real trademark of birth and cognac.
Raw brandy :
The eaux-de -vie brandy are from the six crus allowed: Grande Champagne , Petite Champagne , Borderies , Fins Bois , Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaire : see the map of raw
Grande Champagne, the clay-limestone soils , waters give life to fine bouquet and long predominantly floral .
Petite Champagne surrounds Grande Champagne in the southern part of the Charente River. The land adjacent to those of the Grande Champagne features. The spirits of this wine are of great finesse.
Borderies , northwest of Cognac, is the smallest of the six wines. The basement is partially decalcified and gives eaux-de -vie a unique bouquet of violets.
Fins Bois raw form the largest area of cognac. The basement consists of hard limestone .
These are lands groies .
The eaux-de -vies are structurally sound but not heavy . Their fruit is very distinguished and Borderies as they age rapidly .
The Bons Bois do not match the finesse of previous vintages. The basement of this wine is indeed less rich in limestone. The eaux-de -vie are nevertheless remarkable.
Ordinary Wood give wines marked by a strong maritime influence.
The distillation, the assembly :
Cognac has a secret double distillation and two alchemists : the distiller and winemaker . Every year from November to March is the time of heaters ( distillation) . Stills snore and eau-de -vie gives his heart . It runs in the copper coils . The brouillis obtained by the condensation of alcohol vapor undergoes a second distillation good heater. This is the uniqueness of the distillation of the Charente vineyards. It produces water spirits clear , fragrant and very alcoholic . The art of the distiller lies in its ability to capture the heart of the eau-de -vie which contains the best flavors .
After distillation, the eaux- de-vie come in the night drums . They feed on wood and tannin up over time. The scents of spices, smoked mushrooms floating in the cellar . These cellars are recognizable because their walls are black. This is the noble black fungus Torula . As a result of alcohol is called here » the angels’ share » evaporation. Then comes the time of assembly . Cognac is the fruit of marriage several eaux-de -vie of different ages and backgrounds . This assembly is done by the winemaker . It is he who will give his identity cognac. Matured and stored in ladies – Jeannes , the rarest eaux- de-vie go to « paradise ».
Age cognacs :
VS ( Very Special) and Three Star Cognac which the youngest is at least two years eau-de -vie.
V.S.O.P. ( Very Superior Old Pale ) cognac which youngest eau -de- vie is at least four years.
X.O. (Extra Old ) cognacs which the youngest is at least six water spirits . In fact , the producers assemble eaux-de -vie older than the minimum required. For great cognacs , water spirits may have aged for decades .
Words of art :
Heads : the first puffs of good heater. They headlined at about 75 ° .
Heart : the most subtle of heating water spirits . Very fragrant , they arrive at the end of the heads. Only the heart is for aging. Tails : Last vapors good heater. They headlined at about 2-3 ° .
Good heating : second distillation ( water spirits for cognac is distilled twice).
Angels’ Share : share of water spirits that evaporates each year by the pores of the wood barrels .
Paradise where the oldest eaux- de-vie brandy age. Alembic : distillation apparatus .
THE Pineau des Charentes :
The legend says that the Pineau des Charentes is the result of a happy accident.
The birth of Pineau :
Towards the end of the sixteenth century, a Charentais winemaker during harvest , mistakenly poured grape must in a barrel containing water spirits cognac . A few years later , he was surprised to find a delicious beverage , Pineau was born this mistelle ! * Grape must with fermentation arrested by the addition of alcohol.
A fortified wine :
Pineau des Charentes is a fortified wine that is the subject of an AOC (AOC) . It is produced in the demarcated region of Cognac . It is a fortified wine ( grape juice added exclusively cognac ) .
Pineau white, Pineau « rosé », Pineau des Charentes :
To comply with the AOC Pineau des Charentes must :
- grape must and brandy fortification from the same property. – Pineau des Charentes is bottled in the region of production . There is a wide range of diversified Pineau taste palettes for each producer develops its Pineau .
Pineau des Charentes is aged in oak barrels. White Pineau must age at least 12 months and rosé Pineau 8 months. The old Pineau has minimum 5 years of aging and the very old or extra old Pineau least 10 years .
Pineau des Charentes is a natural drink that is served chilled without ice but with moderation! It is delicious melon , foie gras …