Technology of cognac production: 5 steps to fine alcohol
The technology by which genuine cognac is produced is a rather complex, multi-step process, at times acquiring the features of true art. Over the five hundred year history of this…

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Bourbon: review 8 brands + sub-brands
Bourbon is a real American alcoholic drink, which is produced mainly from corn. Interestingly, the only state in America where the production of this drink is allowed at the legislative…

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Technology of cognac production: 5 steps to fine alcohol
The technology by which genuine cognac is produced is a rather complex, multi-step process, at times acquiring the features of true art. Over the five hundred year history of this…

Continue reading →

How to make brandy?

Next – a few words about the production technology of brandy. October is coming. Going white grapes. This is usually a sort of “uni blanc” (in 90% of cases, it is he).

Cognac: history, age determination, drinking culture, tips

In addition, for the production of cognac are also used, but to a much lesser extent, varieties “Kolombar” (solombard), “foil blanche” (folle blanche) and “montil” (monthil) – they are less resistant to diseases, more difficult to grow, although alcohols from these varieties are more aromatic and have a richer flavoring palette.
After harvesting the grapes immediately squeeze the juice. And this is done carefully – the bones should not be split. For this special press is used. Then the juice is sent for fermentation (fermentation). Adding sugar during fermentation is strictly prohibited at the legislative level. After three weeks, those wines, the alcohol content of which is equal to 9%, with high acidity, are distilled.

The stage of distillation for this brandy is strictly regulated (as, indeed, all other stages of its production). Only certain equipment is used (the so-called “Charente distillation cube”), all of the characteristics and design features of which are described in the relevant documents.

Distillation occurs in two stages: First, – get raw alcohol. Its strength is from 27 to 32%. But this is not cognac. Secondly, the resulting alcohol is sent for re-distillation. Its result is high-quality (if everything is done without violating the technology) brandy alcohol with a strength of 62-72%. It is he who is poured into oak barrels, so that, having spent some time in them, to become a real brandy.

Cognac: history, age determination, drinking culture, tips

By the way, in order for alcohol to really turn into cognac – he will have to spend at least two years in the “oak prison”. This is, in accordance with French law, the minimum possible period. Naturally, you can keep him “in captivity” and more. The rules of production maximum period is not limited. However, long-term observations have shown that it is pointless to withstand grape alcohol in oak barrels for more than 70 years: it will not affect the taste of the final product.

About oak barrels in which brandy spirit is aged, I must say special. They are made only from tree trunks that are not less than 80 years old, growing not anywhere, but only in some forests. Such scrupulousness is explained by the fact that “sorcerer oaks”, suitable for “regular” barrels, must have a certain wood structure. In the manufacturing process, the inside of the barrel is always burned. The degree of roasting varies, depending on the requirements of the manufacturer. Roasting is needed to soften the structure of the wood and increase the extractive potential of wood. It should be noted that as a result of burning, a layer of burnt sugar appears on the inner surface of the barrel. Having filled the barrels (the capacity of the add is usually from 270 to 450 liters) with grape spirit, they are sent to the “cellars” – “ripen”.

In the process of aging with alcohol, various metamorphoses occur. Some of it generally evaporates through wood pores. As a result, the walls of the repository, as a rule, are black in color – mushrooms literally grow on them – microscopic torula compniacensis. And what remains in the barrel, absorbs tannins from wood, reducing sugar, lingin (this is a complex polymer compound, it is present in wood). In addition, the tree gives amino acids, volatile acids and oils, lipids, resins, various enzymes. The color of alcohol changes to golden, and over time to dark golden. Aroma becomes woody vanilla, gradually other shades appear: spices, flowers, fruits.

Naturally, the state of cognac (and this is almost it) in barrels is controlled by “specially trained people.” When such a “cognac master” decides that the drink is already sufficiently “developed” – it is poured from barrels into large glass bottles.

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