How is Cognac made? If you’ve bought a bottle of Remy Martin XO Champagne Cognac from the Ideal Wine Company, you may find yourself wondering how this incredible tipple came to be. If you want to sate your curiosity read on, as we reveal how Cognac is made.
Not just any brandy
Cognac is a type of brandy that’s produced in the Charente region of South West France. Yet Cognac isn’t just any brandy.
Like Champagne, Cognac is an appellation d’origine contrôlée. This means that production must meet certain standards for a drink to qualify as a ‘Cognac.’ Specifically, it must be made from grapes grown in one of six designated zones in Charente. Furthermore, it must be produced from a specific range of grapes, the most common of which is Ugni blanc; the most commonly-grown white wine grape in France.
Cognac making process
Producers must adhere to a particular production process. The process is as follows:
- Once they’re grown, the grapes need to be pressed to release the juice. They must be allowed to ferment naturally for about two to three weeks without the addition of sulphur dioxide or sugar.
- Now we come to the key part of the Cognac making process. The juice must be distilled not once but twice. Distillation must take place in a distinct copper pot known as a “still.”
- These pots are put inside brick kilns. During the first distillation the kilns are heated to 78.3°C – 100°C until the alcohol evaporates and separates from the remainder of the grape juice. These vapours are collected and then passed into a condenser coil to produce a condensed liquid known as “broullis.”
- The broullis is distilled a second time in a process known as “la bonne chauffe.” This second distillation isolates the part of the liquid that will become Cognac, which is known as eau de vie. It takes nine litres of grape juice to produce one litre of eau de vie.
- The eau de vie is then poured into casks and allowed to age. Rules dictate that the casks must be made from Limousine oak and that the liquid is left to age for at least one-two years.
- At this point the Cognac can be sold to the public. However, the liquid is often blended with other Cognacs and allowed to age further through transfer to progressively older casks to produce a top quality tipple.
Buy Cognac from the Ideal Wine Company
This production technique is one-of-a-kind. Only vintages that are produced to these standards have the right to call themselves a Cognac. You can find several first-rate Cognacs here from the Ideal Wine Company for very reasonable prices.