Where do cognac?
It is unlikely for someone to be a big surprise to hear that brandy is from France. You are undoubtedly aware of this. As well as that the name of the drink comes from the name of the town – Cognac (Cognac), located in the South-Western part of France, 120 km north of Bordeaux, in the region of Poitou-Charentes (Poitou-Charentes).
Cognac: history, age determination, drinking culture, tips
It all started with wine. “Vineyards of Poitou”, created by order of the Count of Poitiers, have been known since the XII century. Dutch ships came to the town of Cognac, transporting salt and wine made from grapes grown in Poitou’s vineyards from France to the Nordic countries. Gradually, due to good demand for wines, the areas of vineyards are expanding significantly. In the XVI century, even a crisis of overproduction of wine happens, the quality of it falls. It becomes problematic to take not too high-quality wine to the destination – to Northern Europe. Then the sharp-witted Dutchmen begin to distill the wine with the help of distilleries – the distillate calmly endures a long sea route. However, gradually the locals themselves master the distillation and even improve the process – for the first time they produce double distillation. By chance it turns out that the wine distillate becomes better if kept in oak barrels. Moreover, it turns out that it is possible to drink it not diluted (usually after delivery to the place of destination, the wine distillate was diluted with water). Actually, this is how cognac appeared.
Until the XIX century cognac exported in barrels. Somewhere from the middle of the nineteenth century, it is being poured into bottles. Moreover, by this time a very extensive export geography had already been formed. The drink was transported not only throughout Europe, but sent to the Far East and North America. By the way, it was the “guests” from the New World that nearly destroyed all the production of wines and brandy in Poitou-Charentes: the speech about the root tle and mildew imported to Europe – a parasitic fungus. The French vine had no immunity against these pests at all: by the end of the 19th century, the area of vineyards was significantly reduced. The solution was found by breeders who crossed local grape varieties with American ones that are resistant to aphids and fungi.
In 1936, cognac is recognized as a drink controlled by name by origin (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Prior to this, geographical marking of cognac production areas was made. Nowadays, only a drink born in six French districts of the Charente region: Big Champagne (Grande Champagne), Lesser Champagne (Lesser Champagne), Borderies, Fins Bois, Nice Forests (Bons Bois) and Common Forests (Bois Ordinaires ) can be proudly referred to as “Cognac”. All other similar drinks, even French, but from other areas – “Brandy”.
The name “cognac” can be used only in domestic markets, but never internationally (they are also “Brandy”) to the Armenian, Georgian, Azerbaijani, Dagestan, and Moldovan spirits known to us.
Today, the National Interprofessional Bureau of Cognac is in charge of all cognac issues in France. This authoritative organization can simultaneously be considered both a trade union of brandy producers and a control body, it often resolves disputes arising.