Best French Cognac
Wine, of course, is not the only delicious drink made from French grapes. The country also has a renowned spirit in the shape of brandy and it is widely recognised that the finest brandy comes from Cognac. This little town in South West France has given its name to the wonderful spirit that is enjoyed around the world and the best French Cognac fetches high prices in stores, bars and restaurants. For many people, enjoying a Cognac is the best way to finish a meal but how exactly can you identify the best French Cognacs from the wine list?
Understanding the best French Cognac
It should be remembered that Cognac is actually an appellation d'origine controlee, so the spirit must be made according to the rules of that region. These include using certain grapes and distilling the liquor twice in copper vessels. The first quality classification of Cognac is V.S, which means 'very special'. This must be aged in casks for two. V.S.O.P Cognac is short for Very Special Old Pale and it is aged for four years. The top designation for the very best French Cognac is XO, which means 'extra old'. Here, the brandy is aged for a minimum of six years, but this will be extended to ten years after 2016. The Hors d-age name is also sometimes used and this simply means 'beyond age'. This name is used for those producers who like to make even older Cognac.
The regions producing the best French Cognac
The concept of cru, or terroir, is just as important in producing the best French Cognac as it is in producing the best wines. Some of the better known crus include Fins Bois, Bons Bois, Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, and Bois a terroirs. Each of these areas vies with the others to produce the very best French Cognacs and each has its own style that is unique to the area. A lover of Cognac will no doubt have his own favourites from among the list.
Enjoying the best French Cognac
In order to enjoy the best French Cognac, some knowledge is required. This is why the Gilbert & Gaillard guide should be in every Cognac lover's library. In these pages you will find out much more about this superb drink and what makes each area and producer unique. There is also a simple scoring system and helpful tasting notes to make sure you select the best Cognac for your taste and budget.