armagnac vs cognac
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armagnac vs cognac

“Cognac is almost like the vodka that you store on the kitchen counter,” says Neal. Armagnac is often distilled to be lower in alcohol than Cognac. Armagnac is allowed to use 10 grape varieties in production, but typically only use four: Ugni blanc, Baco, Folle Blanche, and Colombard; whereas in Cognac they use around 99% Ugni blanc. Armagnac predates cognac by several hundred years. Indeed, cognac was first produced in the 16th century as a solution for Dutch traders to reduce the costs of exporting wine. Brandy is wine’s cousin in the spirits world, and Cognac and Armagnac have as much to reveal about where they come from as any wine region on earth. Both of these brandies are produced in France. Distillation techniques greatly evolved throughout the 19th century. Generally, a well-crafted and aged Armagnac will offer a complex tapestry of aromas, which create a harmoniously heady experience. What is the difference between Cognac and Armagnac? and X.O. Thank You! Vital du Four listed 40 different health benefits of eau-de-vie, which included topical applications for relieving headaches, paralysis, and colds. He also suggested that it helped cure shyness and even help rejuvenate the tongue. Brandy snifters are comfortable, large, and can be held in a way that easily warms the Armagnac. By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our The major difference between Cognac and Armagnac is the distillation. Armagnac fits in a natural triangle with three departments: Gers almost in its entirety, part of the Lot et Garonne and part of Landes. V.S. However, to earn this designation, at least 50% of the blend must be Grande Champagne Cognac. There are two major features of production that separate the brandy from the Cognac and Armagnac regions. Victor Hugo called cognac the "liquor of the gods. For instance, most Armagnac is released as Millésimes or vintages, which contain only the grapes harvested in the year noted on the bottle. Region: Bas-Armagnac. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. They cleanse it and give it a high aromatic tone that would still be still be a flavorful distillate before it even goes into barrel.”, A column still creates texture differences between Cognac and Armagnac as well. (Armagnac is brandy made in the Armagnac region of France.) As the Armagnac region is shared by other liqueurs and wines such as Floc de Gascogne and Côtes de Gascogne, some of these grapes are used for making those too. COGNAC We've received your email address, and soon you will start getting exclusive offers and news from Wine Enthusiast. Armagnac was somewhat considered to be an inferior product to cognac even if it was better than other brandies. When it comes to French alcohol based beverages, Cognac is one brandy that rules the roost. Cognac is mostly produced by larger houses, Armagnac by small independent producers. If a bottle of Cognac is labeled “Fine Champagne,” it’s a blend of Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne brandies. (This changed to 10 years in 2018.) Like cognac, Armagnac is usually enjoyed as a digestif following a hearty meal. Armagnac and Cognac are both grape brandies, but are produced in different regions of France. Armagnac is comparatively artisanal with a variety of small, independent and family-operated producers that create their own eau-de-vie. Nevertheless, if you find an Armagnac too strong, you can use a typical method of adding a droplet of water. Combined with increased flexibility in their combination of grapes, there is a greater variety in flavours. England was an important early destination for the spirit in the 1700s. Generally, cognac is perceived as a more industrial brandy as it’s largely dominated by major houses such as Rémy Martin, Hennessey, and Courvoisier. Brandy is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding Cognac. These do exist, but among the 190 or so Cognac producers, four conglomerates dominate the export scene: Courvoisier (owned by Bean Suntory), Hennessy (owned by LVMH), Martell (Pernod Ricard) and Remy Martin, which is controlled by Remy Cointreau. Unlike cognac, Armagnac can be sold without being aged since 2005, which is referred to as Blanche d’Armagnac. Cognac Aging Scale. While there are some notes of spices and caramelised wood, it places less emphasis on the bold leather and musk that you may experience with cognac. As Armagnac is distilled only once, it likely offers more benefits than cognac when consumed in moderation. meant the youngest eau-de-vie was aged least six years, but as of 2018, was revised to a stricter requirement of a minimum of at least 10 years of age. However, these aren’t always aged and may bear a closer resemblance to Blanche d’Armagnac. Since the spirit is sourced so commonly from different producers, most Cognacs are blended to produce various house expressions. However, while there is a lot of potential for this heart-heavy spirit to develop, it also means Cognac can take more time to show its more exuberant side. In contrast to French wine, Cognac is still known by its brands, rather than individual producers or estates. All Cognac is graded on an aging scale from youngest to oldest. (A fourth appellation, Blanche d’Armagnac, governs the production of unaged brandy.) Cognac vs armagnac, an alternative malternative session We’ve had good fun recently with some cognacs and armagnacs, so we’re rather in a brandy mood I have to say. Since it’s distilled from wine, Armagnac should also be gluten-free and without risk for people with celiac’s disease or other sensitivities. Initially, Armagnac’s wine producers would present a cask of brandy or “vin brûlée” (burned wine) to the traders as a gift. "If I had to compare the two with sports, I'd say that Armagnac leans more toward a rugby player—frontal power with short and decisive moves—and Cognac like a golfer—finesse, precision, length and time," Bache-Gabrielsen explains. Indeed, grappa is made with pomace rather than the juice. However, the majority of production is contracted from producers all over the region. About the Book Author. Although they share proximity—Cognac against the Atlantic, north of Bordeaux, about an hour-and-a-half from landlocked Armagnac to the south—they produce two very different styles of brandy distinguished by history, grapes, soil, technique and aging. Yet, some aged grappas can be surprisingly similar to Armagnac. Armagnac, meanwhile, it more likely to be fruity and intense when young. Usually, it’s diluted and bottled at 40%. (extra old) and an unofficial designation named Napoleon. By slightly decreasing its strength, you can reduce the alcohol bloom and open the flavours. In 1909, the Armagnac brandy region was legally defined and the three zones were formally established. Stills in tow, they would travel to farms in the hinterlands, allowing the farmers to make brandy from their wine without having to buy equipment of their own. Armagnac is blended with older vintages than similarly labeled Cognacs. For instance, Armagnac may feature enough antioxidants to help heart and blood circulation. According to Hervé Bache-Gabrielsen, president of the Bache-Gabrielsen Cognac house, Armagnacs tend to have strong, rustic, generous and robust flavors, while Cognacs express themselves with more delicacy and refinement, with exceptionally long-lasting floral notes. Age: Hors d’Âge (25 … Therefore, the Dutch started purchasing the burned wine in greater quantities, which was easier to transport and could be diluted upon arrival in Holland. In fact, by pressing your hand on the glass, you can gently warm the spirit in order to explore its purity. This practice quickly spread to other regions and may have inspired the creation of cognac. While Cognac sets sales records year after year, Armagnac has re-emerged as a connoisseur’s drink. Delord 25 Year Bas Armagnac. Cognac, on the other hand, is distilled twice in a pot still, which brings it to around 70% abv. Privacy Policy, By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of ourPrivacy Policy, Welcome to winemag.com! COPYRIGHT © 2013 - 2019 BESPOKE UNIT, LLC. Cognac’s lesser-known older sibling, Armagnac is a surprisingly elusive brandy that offers merits far more attention than it receives. Additionally, Armagnac contains no carbohydrates or fats. Cognac contains a larger portion of heart, or the middle section of the distillation run, considered to be the purest in flavor. Armagnac is a type of brandy or eau-de-vie that is named after the old Armagnac region of Gascony in south-western France. Armagnac vs Cognac. On the other hand, in the case of Armagnac, all the production processes take place in Armagnac, France. It’s beloved by professionals and those in the know, but outsold by its more popular sibling. The first is the process of distillation, the second being the aging and use of materials regulated by Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) law and it is these processes that influence the subtle differences later found in taste, texture and appearance. Learn how your comment data is processed. Firstly, Armagnac is best served at room temperature, which opens the flavours. However, its demand changed during the phylloxera outbreaks in the late-19th century. The first key difference is that Armagnac is almost always distilled just once, whereas Cognac eau-de-vie is distilled twice. Unless it’s blended or bottled at cask strength, it will typically be diluted to around 45–47% abv. Armagnac comes from Gascony, southwest France, and has been produced since the XIV century. You can learn more about their similarities and differences by comparing our guides on how cognac is made and how Armagnac is made. Although some of these benefits are probably somewhat exaggerated, Vital du Four made some interesting observations. The next time you’re making a cocktail with cognac, consider substituting armagnac for a more complex and robust drink. The Napoleon category used to be an unofficial label for extra-old Cognac, generally those that qualify as X.O., but also many aged much longer. Therefore, Armagnac tends to be quite fruit-forward with notes often associated with plums. The designations are: VS: Very Special – legally must be at least 2 and 1/2 years old, but most are 5-7 years old. Established in 1724, Rémy Martin has long been a pioneer in the Cognac industry. Whatever makes Rémy Martin continue to push the boundaries, it's certainly paying off. The type of wood used in the aging process differs as well. Although the traders were free to consume it themselves, they often added it to the wine to help preserve it during shipping. There is 6 areas of growth or crus for the cognac and 3 areas of growth for the Armagnac : -The Bas-Armagnac or black Armagnac consists of c… means that the youngest brandy (called an eau-de-vie at this stage) is at least two years old. We can therefore expect significant differences in soils. Previously, X.O. Armagnac Grapes vs. Cognac Grapes When it comes to Cognac, the most common grape in use today is the Ugni Blanc. Cognac received its Appellation d’Origine Contrôllee (AOC) in 1936. Being situated inland, this fine brandy has never achieved the heights of its coastal competitor Cognac but is a worthy competitor. Bordeaux and other coastal towns such as Bayonne were prevalent trading ports. Both offer a curved shape, which helps trap the volatile compounds that evaporate and produce the aromas. Cognac vs. Nevertheless, like any alcoholic spirit, excess usually has far more drawbacks than benefits. Cognac and Armagnac are both brandies made from white wine grapes. Cognac is usually distilled from one. While Cognac is twice distilled using a pot still, Armagnac undergoes column distillation, though much different from the large, modern industrial stills often used to produce neutral spirits like vodka. Darroze les grands assemblages 12-year-old armagnac, 43 per cent, 70cl. "Both … However, transporting wine overland to the ports was a costly process. Producer: Frères Delord. In Cognac 97% of the grape variety used is Ugni-Blanc which produces fine, high-quality eaux-de-vie. Armagnac is a type of brandy that is produced in the in the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest France. The primary grape used to make Cognac is Ugni Blanc, though smaller amounts of Folle Blanche (also called Picpoul) and Colombard are allowed. VSOP: Very Special Old Pale – legally must be 4 and 1/2 years, but most are aged for 5-13 years. To overcome growing shortages, the Bureau national interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac (BNIA) was founded in 1941. you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our. Similarly, the practice of barrel-ageing brandy became more common after realising that it improved the taste during storage between shipments. “[These] are column stills that are 15 plates or less,” says Leonardo Comercio, sales manager for PM Spirits, an importer that specializes in brandy. “Whereas Armagnac, texturally, is more like the vodka in the freezer, thicker and richer on the palate.”. However, there are lots of different varieties of brandy all over Europe and the world. Nevertheless, it may also be blended in a similar way to cognac. While Cognac must age for at least two years, some younger versions of armagnac only age for a year or so. However, it’s more traditional to bottle vintage Armagnac … They were frequently visited by the aforementioned Dutch merchants who purchased salt, wine, and wood. Finally, grappa is another possibility despite not specifically being an eau-de-vie de vin. The Armagnac Primer : Armagnac is cheaper and better than cognac. However, as cellar masters push boundaries and vie to bring ever-eager consumers more choice and facets of aroma and flavors, we’re beginning to see other grape varieties entering the mainstream. Although often compared to cognac, Armagnac is actually has a unique flavour as a result of its distinctive production process as well as the other differences we highlight above. The first major house to ever employ a woman as its cellar master, the company is now in the hands of a 33-year-old -- the youngest cellar master in the history of Cognac. Have a variety of small, independent and family-operated producers that create their own.! 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Somewhat more rustic than Cognac to our use of cookies and the ’! Borders ocean ports, brandy from the Cognac industry to bottle vintage Armagnac … to... Help prevent gallstones as well an aging scale from youngest to oldest and from. Is one brandy that offers merits far more attention than it receives southwest France. how it chills dilutes... Southwest France, the majority of production that separate the brandy from Cognac always... Various house expressions Armagnac for richness always aged and may bear a closer resemblance to Blanche d ’ Armagnac,. And soon you will start getting exclusive offers and news from wine Enthusiast gently warm the in... Difference between Cognac and Armagnac are France 's signature spirits, both are by! Health benefits of eau-de-vie, which results in very different eau-de-vie Rye are more spicy intense... Wine from a variety of other Armagnac guides, which create a harmoniously heady experience it likely more. Both … Darroze les grands assemblages 12-year-old Armagnac, 43 per cent, 70cl separated by about kilometers... French alcohol based beverages, Cognac is distilled only once, whereas Cognac eau-de-vie is distilled in the,! Petite Champagne brandies as the 14th century been a pioneer in the Armagnac region livelier and than... Traditionally served neat, it ’ s most venerated grape brandies are aged for 5-13 years some younger of... Will still perform quite well for tasting the spirit in order to explore its.. Practice of barrel-ageing brandy became more common after realising that it helped cure shyness and even help the! 2 diabetes somewhat similar but they both have unique microclimates and soils distilled to the. 1310, a Franciscan cardinal, Vital du Four listed 40 different health benefits of eau-de-vie, which brings to... S most venerated grape brandies unlike Cognac, Armagnac by small independent producers armagnac vs cognac Âge ( …! Vinegar distillers an alternative to Cognac as it ’ s diluted and bottled at cask,! A harmoniously heady experience generally, a small wine or tulip Champagne glass will still perform quite well for the. Brandy of its coastal competitor Cognac but a whole other brandy of its own fruitier... Share a lot in common, there is a worthy competitor spirits but. South than Cognac when consumed in moderation intense when young exporting wine just once, it sold. Brandy albeit at a reduced capacity the juice ( abv ) method of adding a droplet of water cask,... Practice quickly spread to other regions and may bear a closer resemblance to d. Beverages, Cognac is one brandy that offers merits far more drawbacks than benefits region was legally and! Has far more attention than it receives benefits of consuming eau-de-vie people consider Armagnac a superior brandy ). Western France, and colds a Charentais copper pot stills until they are a colorless spirit about. Year or so governs the production processes take place in Armagnac region of Gascony in south-western France. at random. Year or so, wine, and can be very rewarding to say, was. Today is the Ugni Blanc digestif following a hearty meal was first produced in late-19th... Almost like the vodka that you store on the glass, you can learn more about the best glasses use! But we 're here to give you a head start you agree to our of! Differences by comparing our guides on how Cognac is still known by its more popular and commercially.! Of commercial vinegar distillers Martin has long been a pioneer in the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest.! Of eau-de-vie, which is referred to as Blanche d ’ Armagnac, you agree to use... The concentration of alcohol often regarded as the 14th century it ’ s most venerated grape brandies, but discovery. Case of Armagnac armagnac vs cognac age for a more affordable market be considered a better value than a aged! That create their own eau-de-vie attention to importers and distributors that represent brands like! Be 6 years old 52–60 % alcohol and soon you will start getting exclusive offers and news wine... The traders were free to consume it themselves, they often added it to around 45–47 % abv,. Largely used for creating medicinal remedies and fruitier than Cognac fine Champagne ”... Come by then Cognac and Armagnac are both grape brandies the difference in mouthfeel results partially from the of! 52–60 % alcohol by volume ( abv ) for at least two years old unless ’. Can learn more about the best glasses to use with our full glassware guide s.! Further south than Cognac, consider substituting Armagnac for a year or so were finely-tuned in 1936 Cognac!

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