How to make the best spirits in the world

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Did you know that cognac – is the people ‘s
true that is very rich and well known throughout the world.
And all thanks to the gourmet favorite drink and aesthetes, named in his honor and is a symbol of elegance, taste and success.
Cognac. Noble cocktail color, aroma and flavor, which is created for many years in damp cellars among the barrels darkened by time … Some drinks are incredibly long way to go before splashing into a glass and give it a unique flavor to the true connoisseur . And after taking a sip of cognac, many do not even think that the man who once alcohol for him is poured into a young barrel, probably long ago is dead …
The process of cognac production is a long, laborious and it takes a lot of time. And all in order to create one of the noblest of drinks in the world.
So how does a better job in the world of French cognac?


2. First, let’s define some terms.
What is the Cognac region, so jealously guard the right to use your name and what you eat?
Cognac has 6 subregions (denominations) which strictly defined limits. cognac spirits of each subregion have their own distinctive characteristics. For example, the liquor produced from grapes harvested in the Grande Champagne, has a delicate light aroma with dominant and Borderies rich in clay and silica soils floral tones, vineyards grow, giving beautiful round and smooth brandy with notes pronounced violets. Use these functions when mixing allows the master Affairs cognac achieve certain properties of the final product. . To drink can be called Cognac (Cognac), which must be produced from grape spirits, grown only in the territory of these subregions
Subregion are named:
– the Grande Champagne (Grand Champagne) or Great Fine Champagne (Grand Fine Champagne)
– La Petite Champagne (Petite Champagne) or Fine Petite Champagne (Fin Petite Champagne)
– Borderies (Borderies)
– Fins Bois (Fins Bois)
– Bons Bois (Bon Bois)
– Bois Ordinaires (Bois Ordiner)
better the subregions of Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne and Borderies, but it does not mean that the alcohol produced from grapes from other sub-regions, very inferior in quality. By the way, most famous brands of brandy cognac spirits contain several subregions.
Yes, do not confuse, “Champagne”, in this case the Champagne region, which is not relevant. The word “champagne” comes from Latin and means Campania, “agricultural area” “normal” and “liming the soil” So they were not similar in name but completely different regions of products is generated there -. Is the name of the equal rights applies to the champagne region (where they make champagne), and for the Grande champagne region (where they make cognac).


3. Not any suitable for the production of cognac wine. The best results are obtained from the distillation of wine, created from sour grapes, containing the minimum amount of sugar. The main grapes used for the production of brandy, called Ugni Blanc (Ugni Blanc). In 98% of the vineyards in the region it is growing this variety. They are also allowed Colombard varieties (Colombard) and Folle Blanche (Folle Blanche). Of the new varieties they are experimenting with Folinyanom (Ugni Blanc hybrid and Folle Blanche). Ugni Blanc grows in the rhizome of American vines in the late nineteenth century, when phylloxera killed almost all the vineyards in the region and throughout France. phylloxera – resistant American vines, and Ugni Blanc survives better than others in the American rootstock.
In Italy, the variety Ugni Blanc and Trebbiano called there because of this variety make a white wine.
Grape vines are planted at intervals of three meters to as much as possible to open the sun. Harvest once a year – in early October. Some owners of vineyards producing vintage manually, but most use the machine to accelerate the process. The harvested grapes are pressed immediately in traditional flat horizontal presses. The resulting juice is left in fermentation without added sugar. The initial process is exactly the same process of production of white wine.


4. But white wine is becoming a cognac. But first moonlight done.
After three weeks, young Blanc dry Blanc wine (about 8% alcohol) is sent to distillation (Charentais method, which came to us intact), where he spends two stages of boiling, as a result of cognac spirit appears.
The double distillation process – is very difficult. In the first stage unfiltered white wine, to boiling, alcohol vapors rising to the top of the top of the distiller, pass through the tube and condenses in a cooling system.


5. The raw alcohol obtained (French – brouillis). Its strength is typically 27-32%.


6. Next, the resulting liquid is subjected to distillation in a second distillation secondary boiler. And this boiler capacity can not exceed 30 hectoliters.


7. receive basic quality cognac spirit (fr. Bonne chauffe) In the second stage of its crude alcohol during secondary distillation. It is here, in the second distillation step, completely opens up the experience and skill “master distillation,” which is responsible for the correct selection of the first, second and third fraction of the distillate. It was the second fraction, an alcohol strength 68-72%, speaking by aging in oak barrels further and becomes cognac


8. At this stage, work is extremely important specialist distillation, because you have to be able to cut the average fraction in the second distillation – the so-called “heart” – from primary and tertiary fractions, called “head” and ” tail”.


9. It is interesting that all the major cognac houses are used not only for their own spirits produced in distilleries, but also many small producers of spirits alcohol. As a rule, these are small farms, where there is a closed cycle of alcohol production: planting vineyards, typical for fermentation, Stills. cognac houses cooperate with them on a long term basis, constantly monitor the quality of alcohol supplied.
In many private distilleries use old vintage equipment, which for many decades. Alcohol is not affected in any way and, most importantly , the hand of the master by distillation.


10. By the way, various types of secondary distillation commonly used. According to the first – the wine is distilled in tandem with the tail featuring a bouquet full of cognac. The second method is based on the alcohol mixture to distillation head and tail fractions. Alcohol distillation legally ends on March 31, and an extract of brandy starts from this point. He was sent to the home of cognac.


11. Even the dog is interesting that so much time to take pictures and record the closet, where there is always something to cook his master.
Oh, dog … Do not you know that from here begins the cognac.


12. The starting point of cognac extracts think April 1 of each year. Poured in oak barrels of various capacities of alcohol is left on for several years. They
kept coming brandy in special warehouses, which maintains a constant temperature and humidity.
Very often, Cognac are on the banks of the Charente river, because here high humidity, which is so important to drink the correct exposure. The natural moisture, which keeps the barrel, is one of the determining factors in the aging process factors.


13. Alcohol Brandy kept in oak barrels, usually 350 liters at a constant temperature of 15 °, which can mature in 2-50 years. During this time cognac spirit loses some of its strength, and oak gives the drink a nice amber color and flavors. Substances extracted cognac oak are called dry extracts. . Va qualities natural oak develops the bouquet of cognac, makes a special taste, known as rancid
Eaux The exhibition consists of three stages: extraction (penetrating wood components in alcohol), hydrolysis (change in properties and preparation for the “digest wood “) and oxidation (color saturation sets, new flavor notes).
alcohol brandy is matured in barrels of oak fully, traditionally grown in the forests of Limousin (Limousin) and Tronçais (Tronze) . Charente Masters have long recognized the unique quality of this tree. Tronçais forest, located in the Allier (Allier) region offers cooperage (masters for the production of barrels) fine – grained softwood ideal porosity, and the Limousin forest – ensures durable and a half trees (in production of barrels I will separately).


14. The quality and strength beverage is directly dependent on the exposure time. In fact, the term is defined elite cognac.
Barrels of no more than five years used for primary exposure. At this stage, a significant part of the cognac spirits will be selected, assembled and bottled, going to the store shelves with brands VS and VSOP.
In the basement of the same only the best spirits sit, while being maintained . It
is because they are made brandies higher categories – XO, Napoleon, Richard et al. (Special categories differ from each manufacturer)


15. During all the time until the brandy is in the barrel, absorbing all the best of the oak and developing its most exquisite flavors, which is constantly in contact with air and gradually loses a small amount of alcohol ethyl, it called “of the angels”. Experts say a year of each barrel is evaporated through the pores 2-3% alcohol.
The alcohol vapors are deposited on the walls. Here they had a special mold “drunk” because of which the wall in cognac cellars are always black.


16. When the brandy, according to the expert, the shutter speed reaches the top, is placed in an old barrel, which “remains”. Old barrels have nothing to give to drink and practically did not change.
If cognac, according to the “cellar master”, reaches a peak in its development, which is poured barrels in glass bottles, the so – called “give -zhony “(fr. Dames-Jeanne), sealed and placed in wineries most remote place where they can be stored for decades or even centuries unchanged. This is a special place in the cellar, which is called paradise (fr. Paradis).
Read more about Brandy Rae can be read here.


17. The most important stage of the production of cognac – this brandy mixed with different characteristics. It is dedicated to this specially trained person, in the jargon of the winemakers called Master bouquet. How cognac, which depends on the taste, status and labeling is done. But in any case, a good cognac can be found in the thousands, because of its pungent aroma and strong taste to remember.


18. On the basis of an alcohol is few old assembly and reduction. Assembly – mixed alcohol (eau-de-vie), reduction – a progressive dilution, very careful with the water (such as alcohol and water is very polar, rapid mixing can cause cognac produced injuries, distortion of its aroma and flavor). Often reducyruut fortified water, rather than water alone. febl (faibles) or small water (petites Eaux) – – fortified water. alcohol and mixed water, about 15-20% concentration
to which water is added? For the concentration of the drink corresponding to the established parameters.
Also on stage lace brandy can be added to sugar and caramel. It is legally allowed. Although the caramelization is not particularly welcome, as the cheapest way to get a taste, and apply, as a rule, the cheapest brand of cognac – VS.
. In the picture you can see how different cognacs with different period exposure
the brighter it is the drink, the more he is younger …


19. brandy production at all stages of a very highly regulated and controlled. No experiments are not allowed – even if the brandy is not intended for sale.
Now, about the notation. They are not regulated by the traditional name of the minimum term aging of cognac. They are divided into the following main categories:
. The VS – delay of at least two years
. VSOP, the Reserve – an extract of at least four years
VVSOP, Gran Reserva – at least five years.
XO, Napoleon -. Delay of at least six years
must be borne in mind that for mixtures (mixtures of different alcohols) indicates always the youngest of alcohol. it
is also interesting that different manufacturers under standard notation can mean much more than the minimum exposure. For example, some small houses XO cognac – cognac is thirty, and, for example, VS – Twelve.


20. In the Cognac region reached nearly 20 thousand houses of cognac. (Therefore, it is not only the cognac Courvoisier, Hennessy, Martell, Remy Martin and Camus)
However, in reality are now in the region of about 5000 manufacturers left, but only 12 of them have a complete cycle !!! The rest carry a certain stage of production. Someone just alcohol distillation, and some just an extract, assembly and bottling of cognac under its own brand.


21. How to drink cognac?
As a rule, it is drunk as an aperitif or, conversely, as a digestive. Brandy is also increasingly used in cocktails in recent years, and some manufacturers have a brand, specifically designed for cocktails.
The best support of cognac – coffee, cigarettes and chocolate. Several desserts (eg, apple Charlotte) and fruits., As well as snacks go
Regarding lemon. Do not ask the French about the lemon applied to cognac! Lemon -. The worst snack for brandy, completely kills the taste
This fashion has gone from Nicholas II, who hated the taste of cognac, but was forced to drink out of the label. So, in fact, he escaped lemon, instantly neutralize the taste of the drink. In Soviet times, the tradition of an appetizer lemon cognac, as well as to keep the drink in the fridge, sold everywhere and sometimes occurs even in our time …
So drink brandy appropriate glasses to correct a tulip – shaped and accompanied on the right …


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