Five Foods to Match with Cognac

If you’re about to host a dinner party you might want to stick around. The Ideal Wine Company has revealed five foods that taste fantastic when matched with Cognac.

Why buy Cognac? There’s one very good reason why you should buy a Delamain Pale & Dry XO Grande Champagne Cognac from the Ideal Wine Company. The Cognac-style of brandy is a fantastically complex drink that boasts a subtle array of flavours, which are destined to light up your taste buds.

However, it’s notoriously hard to serve Cognac at a dinner party. This is because the protected-French brandy works wondrously with some dishes, but disastrously with others. If you get the pairing wrong, you could bring down the entire tone of your dinner party – leaving your guests distinctly unsatisfied.

Five Cognac and Food Pairings

So how do you choose the right food to pair with Cognac? Why don’t you start with the Ideal Wine Company’s following list of five foods you can pair with this king of fine brandies?

1) Chocolate: It’s traditional to serve Cognac with chocolate-heavy deserts, as chocolate perfectly matches the famed smoothness of this luxury French tipple. We’d suggest you go for a nice dark chocolate if you want to strike a scintillating balance.

2) Cheese: Pairing cheese and Cognac can be just as difficult as matching wine and cheese, but the results are fantastic. We’d suggest you opt for Brie, Fromage Frais, Cheddar or Roquefort to attain the saltiness you need to master this pairing.

3) Duck: Another popular food pairing for Cognac is duck, and many people like to match a particularly good Cognac with foie gras. Basically, the rich, fatty, full-bodied texture of duck lends Cognac a sumptuous round, velvety texture.

4) Sushi: You may not believe it, but Cognac works fantastically well with raw foods like sushi. The tipple’s precise balance of acidity and fruitiness brings out the best characteristics of the sushi to make for a killer pairing.

5) Mushrooms: There are a lot of people who believe that the best food to pair lighter Cognacs with is mushrooms. These Cognacs boast a subtle array of flavours that underpin the complex character of wild mushrooms with effortless grace.

Give it a go

These pairings aren’t set in stone. What might work fantastically with the Claude Thorin VR might be a disaster when paired with another Cognac. That’s why the when you buy a Cognac from the Ideal Wine Company, you should engage in a little experimentation to find the right pairing for your next dinner party!

Everything You Need to Know About Fortified Wine

If you’re thinking of buying the Fonseca Vintage Port from the Ideal Wine Company, you may be interested to learn that it’s a fortified wine. If you don’t know what this means, keep reading as we’ve decided to devote a whole blog post to explaining what fortified wine is, how it’s made  and why it makes a fantastic after dinner tipple.

What is fortified wine?

A fortified wine is a wine that has had a grape spirit such as brandy added to “fortify” the final product. This brings the alcohol content of the end product up to around 17% – 20%.  The most well-known types of fortified wine are Sherry, Madeira, Marsala and Port.

You may be interested to learn that producers first started to fortify wine because they believed that adding stronger alcohols such as brandy would preserve the final product. This is true if the bottle remains sealed, however fortified wine won’t last more than a month after it’s been opened.

How is fortified wine made?

Through trial and error wine makers discovered that timing is everything when it comes to making fortified wine. The grape alcohol needs to be added to the base wine during the fermentation process. This can be used to control the sugar content in the final product.

This is because once the grape spirit is added, it stops the yeast converting sugar into alcohol. Therefore when the producer wants a dry or a less alcoholic fortified wine, they let the fermentation process run its full course before adding the brandy. However, if they want a sweeter or more alcoholic product they’ll add it once the base wine has fermented for a day and a half. After fermentation, fortified wine is aged in oak wood casks.

Why should you drink fortified wine?

The truth is that there’s no one reason why fortified wine makes a fantastic after dinner treat. The tipple’s production process has a lot of variables and this means that there are a range of fortified wines on the market and they each have different characteristics and qualities.

Yet most fortified wines have one thing in common. Even when we’re talking about a “dry” variety, fortified wines are stronger and sweeter than other wines. This is why it has traditionally served as a desert wine and can be paired beautifully with after dinner staples such as chocolate desserts, fruit torts and cheese platters.

 

How is Cognac Made?

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.