How old is Your Bottle of Cognac?

Enthusiasts around the world will tell you that the longer a Cognac has been left to mature, the better it tastes. Below, the Ideal Wine Company explains how you can find out the age of your bottle of luxury Cognac.

Aging is vital to the Cognac making process.

Last week the Ideal Wine Company explained how Cognac is made. Cognac is an appellation d’origine contrôlée. This means that there are certain rules that govern its production.

One of these rules is that Cognac must be left to age for at least one-two years. At this point the eaux de vie that has been made in the double distillation process is left to age in Limousin oak casks. This allows the eaux de vie’s colour and flavour to mature. The drink is moved to progressively older casks the longer it’s left to age.

Age classification system

Age is like a badge of honour in the Cognac industry. The sector uses an age classification system to let consumers know how long their Cognacs have been left to mature. The basic classification system is as follows:

  • VS: This is the most basic classification. It means “very special” and refers to Cognacs that have been aged for at least one-two years; the minimum requirement.


  • VSOP: This means “very special old pale” or “very superior old pale.” Cognacs with this designation have been allowed to mature in Limousin oak casks for at least four years.


  • XO: Also known as “extra old.” Cognacs that fall into this category have been let to age for a minimum of six years.


  • Hors d’âge: The French translation for “beyond age.” As the name suggests, hors d’âge is similar to XO but is often used to market Cognacs of higher quality. Other names for hors d’âge include Napoleon and Vieille Réserve; VR for short.

How old is your Ideal Wine Company Cognac?

Now you know how to determine the age of a Cognac, what does this mean for the luxury brandies you can buy from the Ideal Wine Company? We have three Cognacs on our product list right now. These are the Remy Martin XO Champagne Cognac, the Delamain Pale & Dry XO Grande Champagne Cognac and the Claude Vorin VR.

This means that when you buy a Cognac from the Ideal Wine Company, you can be sure that you’ve invested in a bottle that has been allowed to mature for at least six years. In other words, you’re in for a top quality tipple when you buy Cognac from the Ideal Wine Company!

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.



Four Cognac Cocktails You Just Have to Try

This week Ideal Wine Company helps you get creative with your bottle of luxury cognac, with four cognac cocktails you just have to try.

Cognac’s too Dreamy Not to Drink

We may be a provider of top wines at prices that won’t rock your budget, but that is not all the Ideal Wine Company is. We also have several Cognacs on our product list, which are sure to set your taste buds on fire and slide down like a dream.

However, heady brandies straight out of the bottle aren’t to everybody’s taste. Cognac though, has a richness and a vitality that can appeal to even the most stubborn of lightweights, should they only find a way to drink it.

Try These Gorgeous Four Cognac Cocktails

Which is why if you are a lightweight determined to get the most out of your glass of Cognac, you should turn to the Cognac cocktail, and you might as well start with the following top four picks from the Ideal Wine Company…

1)      Between the Sheets: An absolute classic, for this Cognac cocktail you’ll need Cognac, white rum, Cointreau, lemon juice and crushed ice, with a slice of lemon to garnish. All you need to do to get this one right is throw everything into the crushed ice and add the lemon slice. So easy anyone can get it right!


2)      The Summit Cocktail: If you want something really special, why not go for the cocktail specifically created for the 2008 Cognac Summit – the Summit Cocktail. Gather together 4 slices of ginger, a slice of lime, cognac, lemonade and cucumber peel. Start by placing the lime and ginger in a glass, before adding half your cognac. Throw in ice and stir. Then, add the lemonade and rest of the Cognac, before finishing with the peel.


3)      Rolls Royce: Why not invoke some 1920’s glamour with a Rolls Royce, the perfect Cognac cocktail for a dinner party! Find Cognac, Drambuie, lemon juice and three ice cubes. Then, put the cubes into a shaker, before mixing and adding the other ingredients and shaking. Then pour into the glass and voila!


4)      French Green Dragon: If you’re looking for a Cognac cocktail with a little punch, the French Green Dragon is one you have to take the time to make at some point, and it’s a pretty easy one too! All you need to do is hunt down some Cognac, green Chartreuse and some ice cubes, pour into a shaker and shake vigorously, then pour!

Have Some Fun with Your Bottle of Luxury Cognac

Once you’ve tried these relatively simple (and one more complex) Cognac cocktails, why not get creative and try inventing your own! That way, whether you’re a Cognac enthusiast, or just someone who wants to find a more palatable way to enjoy a good glass, you’ll have endless fun with your bottle of luxury Cognac!