Epic Wines France Edu PPT

Cognac & Armagnac
Cognac, France
• Cognac: France’s best-known brandy
• Peaceful countryside 100 miles north of Bordeaux
• Medieval town with elegant Renaissance facades
• Pastoral landscape with stone farmhouses along the fields
• Region also known for its butter, snails, natural sea salts, and brandy
• Brandy: ("burnt wine") is a spirit produced by distilling wine
Cognac Overview
Drinks must be made according to strictly-defined regulations to be named
Consists of six vineyard growth areas, called ‘Crus’:
1. Grande Champagne *Best Growth
2. Petite Champagne
3. Borderies
4. Fins Bois
5. Bon Bois
6. Bois Ordinaire
Cognac second biggest wine region of France, right after Bordeaux
“Origine Controlée Cognac” (AOC) appellation totals 790 million square meters
of vineyards
6 Crus of the Cognac Region
Growth Area / Cru
Grande Champagne
34 700 hectares / 13 250 ha
covered with vineyards
Some hills, and chalky soil
Petite Champagne
65 600 ha / 15 250 ha
covered with vineyards
Chalky but more compact
than the Grande
12 500 ha / 4 000 ha
covered with vineyards
It’s a plateau with clay and
flint stones
Fins Bois
350 000 ha / 31 200 ha
covered with vineyards
Mixed soil: red, clay and
Bons Bois
370 000 ha / 9 300 ha
covered with vineyards
Very mixed soils, clay,
limestone, sands
Bois Ordinaires
260 000 ha / 1066 ha
covered with vineyards
Mainly sand soils,
including islands Ile de Ré
and Ile d’Oléron
Cognac Process
Each Cru has different fragrance - flowers,
green fruits (apple, pear), grapes
Produced by blending a variety of "Eau de
• Eau de Vie: French for “water of life.” A
clear, colorless fruit brandy that is
produced by means of fermentation and
double distillation
98% of the Cognac vineyards are planted with
Ugni Blanc
Ugni Blanc: produces wines with elevated
levels of acidity and low alcohol, fairly
neutral in taste
Cognac Process
The Cognac Still: known as alambic
• Distillation process:
1. Heat wine until it boils
2. Purely condense its vapors
3. Reconvert this steam into liquid form
4. Repeat 2nd distillation or Bonne Chauffe
• Quality controlled by length of time Cognac
is matured in oak barrels
• The longer the Cognac matures barrel, the
smoother it is
• Once bottled, no further development takes
Armagnac, France
Armagnac: grape brandy from the Gascony region of
southwestern France
One of the first areas to begin distilling spirits
Granted AOC status in 1936
Situated between the Atlantic and the Pyrénées
Generous amount of sunshine through winter, rainfall
in the spring which nourishes vineyards with a warm
Volume of production is far smaller than Cognac
Official production areas divided into 3 districts:
1. Bas-Armagnac
Grapes grow in acidic, argillaceous and stony ground
Iron rust colors parts of the soil
2. Armagnac-Ténarèze
Soil consists mainly of limestone, sand and clay
The Ténarèze distillate is considered to be the strongest-tasting Armagnac
3. Haut-Armagnac
Area is called "white Armagnac" because of the abundance of limestone
Vineyards are scattered like islands over the chalky clay hills
Armagnac Process
• 4 grapes commonly used:
1. Folle Blanche: light-to-medium-bodied wine low in alcohol (7%9%), high in acidity
2. Ugni Blanc: produces wines with elevated levels of acidity and low
alcohol, fairly neutral in taste
• Comprises ≈ 55% of the grapes used for Armagnac
• Contain pleasing floral aromatics that tend to accentuate the
spice notes from the oak
3. Colombard: aroma is slightly herbal and reminiscent of freshly
mown hay
4. Bacco: full-bodied, with plenty of fat and volume
• With age expresses jammy dried plum notes
• Different grapes = different aromas, flavors, and different weights and
textures on the palate
Armagnac Process
• Use a single continuous distillation rather than double
batch distillation
• Distillation process:
1. Heat wine until it boils
2. Purely condense its vapors
3. Reconvert this steam into liquid form again
• Retains earthy and fruity flavors in the finished spirit
• Gains much of its character and flavor during aging
• Quality is dependent on the period of time the brandy
spends in wood
• As it matures, it turns from being a clear to an amber color
• Absorbs tannins and other flavors from the oak
Grades of Cognac & Armagnac
• A.C.: 2 years old, aged in wood
• V.O., Very Old: Aged minimum of 4 years
• V.S., Very Special: Aged 3 years in wooden casks, often called Three Star
• V.S.O.P., Very Superior Old Pale: Minimum aging 8 years in wood for youngest
blend - industry average is between 10 and 15 years old, known as Five Star
• X.O., Extra Old: Also called Luxury, minimum age of 8 years.
• Napoleon/Extra/Vielle Reserve: At least 4 years old=
• Varietal: Made using only one type of varietal grape
• Vintage: Aged and bottled in the year of the vintage
• Hors d'Age: Too old to figure out the age; true gem
Summary: Basic Differences
– Armagnac grapes split between Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, Colombard, and
– Cognac grapes comprised of 98% Ugni Blanc
– Armagnac's best grapes grown on sandy soil in warm temperatures
– Cognac's best grapes grown on chalky soil with mild temperatures
– Armagnac often single-distilled in a alambic
– Cognac required to be twice distilled in a pot still
– Traditional Armagnac given a vintage date
– Cognac vintages extremely rare – usually a blend of various vintages
Single Varietal
– Single-varietal Armagnac is common, especially Folle Blanche
– One rarely sees a varietal printed on a Cognac label
Cognac & Armagnac

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