What is the only spirit derived from fruit?
What is the best known grape brandy that comes from south-west France?
Armagnac also comes from south-west France, but Cognac enjoys a much wider global reputation.
When making Cognac, after the grapes are pressed, what are they fermented into?
By law, how must Cognac be distilled?
Double distilled in a pot still
What is the challenge of using a pot still for distillation?
It is a labor-intensive process that involves doing one batch at a time
What are the characteristics of spirits made in pot stills?
Relatively low strength and a lot of flavor
After distillation, what must happen (by law) for the spirit to be called Cognac?
It must be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years
What flavors are a result of oak aging?
Vanilla and toast
What happens when cognac is aged longer in oak?
Flavors become very concentrated and develop fruit cake and toffee aromas
How is extra complexity created in Cognacs?
Extra complexity is achieved by blending Cognacs of different ages
(Most Cognacs are blended)
What are two ways Cognac develops it characteristics during aging?
1. They pick up flavor and color from the oak casks
2. Their flavors become more concentrated over time as alcohol and water evaporate through the barrel
Cognacs are sweetened before being bottled
Cognacs are usually sweetened with grape sugars before bottling
What does VS mean when describing Cognac?
Aged a minimum of 2 years
What does VSOP mean when describing Cognac?
Very Special, Old, Pale
Aged a minimum of 4 years
What does XO mean when describing a type of Cognac?
Aged a minimum of 6 years
How many times muct Cognac be distilled?
By law - twice in a pot still
Most Cognac pot stills are heated using what method?
Many other pot stills are heated using steam jackets