The birthplace of brandy
Everyone knows that France is the birthplace of brandy, the country, the embodiment of love, beauty, harmony, the country of fine taste. Speaking of brandy, as a drink, you can not ignore the city of Cognac. It is a simple city with its houses, buildings, people, economy. It is located in the French department of Charente, most of the city is located on the left bank of the river of the same name.
The famous French king Francis I was born in Cognac in the castle of Valois in 1494. Under his rule, the city of Cognac was granted the right to sell salt mined on the coast of La Rochelle. Trade led to the rapid development of the city, which had a great influence on the further transformation of the city into a world center for the production of brandy.
Speaking of Cognac, it is impossible not to mention the division of the city into 6 parts, differing from each other in climate, soil, which of course affects the cultivation of grapes. This division first appeared in 1909, after the specifics of climate and soils were carefully studied by experts. These are the famous regions:
Grande Champagne (Grand Champagne) – the most prestigious area with a high yield of grapes. Cognacs produced from grapes of this region are the best.
Petite Champagne is also the best region, only slightly different from the previous one. The aromas of spirits from this region are just a little more fruity.
Les Borderies (Borderie) – differs in its soils, which contain less limestone, dominated by alumina and flint.
Les Fins Bois (Le-Feng-Bois) – the alcohols of this region are used most often to make young brandies.
Les Bons Bois (Le Bonce-Bois) is a region with more rigid soils, alcohols from here are used mainly for “assembled” cognacs.
Les Bois Ordinaires (Le Bois-Ordinair) is a maritime climate in this region, which of course affects the grape harvest. Therefore, the vineyards here occupy only 1.6 thousand hectares.
Cognac is the most beautiful city with various historical monuments and architectural masterpieces. The stunningly decorated buildings of the historic part of the city date back to the 15-18 centuries. The main street of the city is named after King Francis I. And Valois Castle, where the king was born, is one of the most significant attractions of the city. Currently, this castle houses the famous Otard Cognac House. Among the main attractions of the city of Cognac are the ancient gates to the city, which were built in 1499, the two most important churches – the church of Saint-Léger, built in the 12th century, and the church of Saint-Martin, where the burials of the early Middle Ages are preserved. There are also numerous museums of history and art, the main of which is … Try to guess yourself !!! Yes, the famous museum of cognac, opened in 2004.
In addition to the Valois castle, in the vicinity of the city there are several ancient châteaux (from French – the castle), most of which currently belong to old families, whose ancestors are still engaged in the production of brandy (Chateau de Beaulon – Chateau de Bolon, Chateau Montifaud – Chateau Montifo other).
Cognac is also a cultural city. It hosts grand cultural events, festivals and carnivals, the most significant of which is, of course, the cognac festival. It is organized annually in mid-July.
As for the industry of the city, it is easy to guess that it is largely aimed at the production of brandy. In the city and in its surroundings, there are 600 (!) Cognac houses in total. In addition to alcoholic beverages, the city is also famous for its glass products – bottles, corks, barrels, etc. In the center of Cognac there are numerous restaurants where they cook delicious national dishes – petits gris a la charentaise (snails), Éclade – oysters, goat milk and sour cream flavored with brandy.
This is a wonderful city – not only the birthplace of the noblest of alcoholic beverages, but also a great place for an unforgettable journey. It may sound absurd, but Cognac is really something more than just cognac.