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armagnac vs cognac

Cognac is a brandy specifically made from wine in the Cognac region of France. 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. Since the spirit is sourced so commonly from different producers, most Cognacs are blended to produce various house expressions. Armagnac uses the VS/VSOP/XO designations for age as Cognac, but the ages don’t match up perfectly; the youngest eau-de-vie in a XO Armagnac only has to be aged six years instead of eight. There are two major features of production that separate the brandy from the Cognac and Armagnac regions. France itself hosts a wide selection of brandies that are referred to as eaux-de-vie de vin. Established in 1724, Rémy Martin has long been a pioneer in the Cognac industry. Indeed, grappa is made with pomace rather than the juice. 0. 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. 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. Armagnac is comparatively artisanal with a variety of small, independent and family-operated producers that create their own eau-de-vie. 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. However, Armagnac will also typically use Baco 22A, which isn’t permitted for cognac. However, the majority of production is contracted from producers all over the region. Furthermore, the earliest sale of local eau-de-vie in the area was recorded as early as 1461 through tax records of a market in Saint-Sever. Nevertheless, like any alcoholic spirit, excess usually has far more drawbacks than benefits. Meanwhile, cognac’s second distillation run tends to remove more of the vinous bouquet. On the other hand, in the case of Armagnac, all the production processes take place in Armagnac, France. Like cognac, Armagnac is usually enjoyed as a digestif following a hearty meal. I like to think that Armagnac is to Cognac as Rye is to Bourbon. Indeed, both are produced by distilling wine from a variety of dry and acidic white grapes. Cognac is mostly produced by larger houses, Armagnac by small independent producers. Nevertheless, it may also be blended in a similar way to cognac. Many of the legacy brands in Cognac are named for foreigners like Richard Hennessy, an Irish trader, and Thomas Hine, an Englishman who married into a family with a distillery. Although large balloon-shaped brandy snifters tend to be the most common choice of glassware, fine tulip glasses can improve your experience. Region: Bas-Armagnac. Armagnac is more rustic in production, which results in a full-flavored brandy that importer Charles Neal, of Charles Neal Selections, calls “a bit more…forward and punchy.” The brandy used to produce Armagnac was made historically by roving distillers. (extra old) and an unofficial designation named Napoleon. And how do we taste these libations? Many of these grape growers and distillers work with multiple brands. It’s not as well known, or as well distributed either, and there’s none of the hard push into other regions of the world that we’ve seen with Cognac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, What Is Armagnac? Meanwhile, a small tulip is easier for nosing and by holding it at the stem, you can control the brandy’s temperature. 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. Cognac and Armagnac are both brandies made from white wine grapes. Vital du Four listed 40 different health benefits of eau-de-vie, which included topical applications for relieving headaches, paralysis, and colds. VSOP: Very Special Old Pale – legally must be 4 and 1/2 years, but most are aged for 5-13 years. However, it was a process largely used for creating medicinal remedies. Cognac and Armagnac in Cocktails. As a result, it was able to continue producing and exporting its brandy albeit at a reduced capacity. Age: Hors d’Âge (25 … Combined with increased flexibility in their combination of grapes, there is a greater variety in flavours. 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. Needless to say, cognac is the most obvious substitute that you could consider to replace Armagnac! Cognac aims for elegance and smoothness, Armagnac for richness. Fortunately, with state support, Armagnac has since recovered and it celebrated its 700th anniversary following the publication of Vital du Four’s treaty. 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. Choose Cognac and Armagnac like you would wine. Whatever makes Rémy Martin continue to push the boundaries, it's certainly paying off. Therefore, cognac has a greater oceanic influence whereas Armagnac is shielded by the Landes forest while also being touched by the Mediterranean’s southerly winds. (Armagnac is brandy made in the Armagnac region of France.) Cognac is typically not vintage-dated, better Armagnac often is. However, it’s possible to follow a few steps in order to heighten your tasting experience and take full advantage of an Armagnac’s potential. Initially, Armagnac’s wine producers would present a cask of brandy or “vin brûlée” (burned wine) to the traders as a gift. They were frequently visited by the aforementioned Dutch merchants who purchased salt, wine, and wood. Armagnac vs Cognac. 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. Armagnac, meanwhile, it more likely to be fruity and intense when young. England was an important early destination for the spirit in the 1700s. Vintage Armagnac is relatively affordable compared to other aged spirits, and it’s a great option if you seek a bottle to commemorate a particular year. ... Armagnac, unlike Cognac, is single distilled and tends to be somewhat more rustic than Cognac. Neal says that the additional dilution contributes to Cognac’s lighter sensation. Excluding their different geographical locations and climates, Armagnac is often released as yearly vintages rather than just blends like V.S.O.P. Worth noting is that these designations don’t always show up on a bottle, and most quality producers will exceed their minimum listed age significantly. The grades are V.S. Furthermore, Ugni Blanc is the most popular grape for both Armagnac and cognac. "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. 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. This practice quickly spread to other regions and may have inspired the creation of cognac. Finally, grappa is another possibility despite not specifically being an eau-de-vie de vin. Main Difference – Cognac vs Armagnac. Armagnac is made by distilling wine that has been fermented from local grape varieties, which is then aged for several years in 400-litre oak casks. Like Cognac, Armagnac is blended and labeled frequently with indications like V.S.O.P., X.O. If a bottle of Cognac is labeled “Fine Champagne,” it’s a blend of Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne brandies. We've received your email address, and soon you will start getting exclusive offers and news from Wine Enthusiast. Cognac’s lesser-known older sibling, Armagnac is a surprisingly elusive brandy that offers merits far more attention than it receives. He also suggested that it helped cure shyness and even help rejuvenate the tongue. For instance, Armagnac may feature enough antioxidants to help heart and blood circulation. Otherwise, you can learn more about the best glasses to use with our full glassware guide. 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. The process of distillation had been adopted following the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. This smooth, floral sipper … In Cognac 97% of the grape variety used is Ugni-Blanc which produces fine, high-quality eaux-de-vie. 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. Armagnac and Cognac are both grape brandies, but are produced in different regions of France. Cognac is actually a type of brandy that has been distilled in the town of Cognac in France. Both offer a curved shape, which helps trap the volatile compounds that evaporate and produce the aromas. For instance, it’s often paired with foie gras, another local delicacy. However, it’s more traditional to bottle vintage Armagnac than Cognac. Armagnac production allows for a small dosage of sugar. Armagnac predates cognac by several hundred years. Therefore, the Dutch started purchasing the burned wine in greater quantities, which was easier to transport and could be diluted upon arrival in Holland. "Both … Like its neighbouring brandy, Armagnac’s production is regulated by several French appellations and the region is divided into a number of individual zones. Cognac vs Armagnac The difference Cognac and Armagnac are France's signature spirits, both similar and very different at the same time. However, these aren’t always aged and may bear a closer resemblance to Blanche d’Armagnac. and Reserve to show the minimum age. “[These] are column stills that are 15 plates or less,” says Leonardo Comercio, sales manager for PM Spirits, an importer that specializes in brandy. Here's a primer on the liquors. By using our website and/or subscribing to our newsletter, Cognac, on the other hand, is distilled twice in a pot still, which brings it to around 70% abv. Cognac is made in Cognac region whereas Armagnac is made in Armagnac region. Although it is harder to come by then Cognac and certainly less known, some people consider Armagnac a superior brandy. Unless it’s blended or bottled at cask strength, it will typically be diluted to around 45–47% abv. 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… The two Champagne regions, like the famed sparkling wine region, are named for the high composition of chalk in the soil. Unravelling the mystery of these two complex spirits can take a lifetime, but we're here to give you a head start. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. 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. Bordeaux and other coastal towns such as Bayonne were prevalent trading ports. Cognac vs Armagnac . Since the reclassification of X.O., Napoleon has adopted the category’s former requirements, and now signifies a blend with a minimum age of six years. Brandy: 7 Key Differences By Jacki August 2, 2018. Similarly, Armagnac is regarded as a far more artisanal brandy than cognac as it’s often made by local family-owned producers rather than large, industrial companies. The primary grape used to make Cognac is Ugni Blanc, though smaller amounts of Folle Blanche (also called Picpoul) and Colombard are allowed. Armagnac tends to come off the still at around 52–60% alcohol by volume (abv). However, it’s more traditional to bottle vintage Armagnac … These designations indicate the age of the youngest brandy in the blend. If neither is available, a small wine or tulip champagne glass will still perform quite well for tasting the spirit. Cognac received its Appellation d’Origine Contrôllee (AOC) in 1936. V.S.O.P indicates that the youngest eau-de-vie in the blend is at least four years old. XO: Extra Old – legally must be 6 years old, but most are aged between 7 to 40 years. By 1515, Gascony had evidence of commercial vinegar distillers. The designations are: VS: Very Special – legally must be at least 2 and 1/2 years old, but most are 5-7 years old. However, to earn this designation, at least 50% of the blend must be Grande Champagne Cognac. “Whereas Armagnac, texturally, is more like the vodka in the freezer, thicker and richer on the palate.”. Both of these brandies are produced in France. The type of wood used in the aging process differs as well. “Cognac is almost like the vodka that you store on the kitchen counter,” says Neal. and Reserve to show the minimum age. 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. Armagnac is often distilled to be lower in alcohol than Cognac. Armagnac is a type of brandy that is produced in the in the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest France. The next time you’re making a cocktail with cognac, consider substituting armagnac for a more complex and robust drink. Pay attention to importers and distributors that represent brands you like. (very superior old pale), X.O. Share. So why are so few people drinking it? America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2019, Wine Enthusiast's 2019 Wine Star Award Winners, The Enthusiast 100:
Our Top Wines of 2020, All the 100-Point Wines from Our Top Cellar Selections of 2020, How to Buy Wine at the Supermarket, According to Sommeliers, 12 Splurge-Worthy Champagnes to Toast the Season, In Barolo, 11 Distinct Villages Create the King of Wines, California Privacy Rights Do Not Sell My Information. As we state in all of our guides, there is no wrong way to drink a spirit as long as you are enjoying it. In Western France, the regions of Cognac and Armagnac produce some of the world’s most venerated grape brandies. For instance, most Armagnac is released as Millésimes or vintages, which contain only the grapes harvested in the year noted on the bottle. Like Cognac, Armagnac is blended and labeled frequently with indications like V.S.O.P., X.O. However, its demand changed during the phylloxera outbreaks in the late-19th century. Although a growing network of river ports was built throughout the region, much of Gascony consisted of small streams, which still required carts for transporting goods. The Charentais terroir The Cognac and Armagnac terroirs are separated by about 300 kilometers. Cognac is distilled in Charentais copper pot stills until they are a colorless spirit of about 70% alcohol. Brandy is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding Cognac. It is also used in… These laws were finely-tuned in 1936 with the creation of their appellations. Cognac undergoes a different production process than its less famous counterpart, with two rounds of distillation for a subtler flavor. About the Book Author. You can learn more about their similarities and differences by comparing our guides on how cognac is made and how Armagnac is made. Armagnac comes from Gascony, southwest France, and has been produced since the XIV century. Cognac contains a larger portion of heart, or the middle section of the distillation run, considered to be the purest in flavor. However, it was unable to fully support its producers and Haut-Armagnac’s vineyards had almost disappeared by the 1970s. Armagnac is often livelier and fruitier than cognac as it’s usually distilled just once. you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our. A pot still allows for more control over the “heads, heart and tails,” or how distillers describe respectively the first, middle and final parts of the spirit to flow out of the still. Yet, it described an apothecary remedy rather than an alcoholic drink. To overcome growing shortages, the Bureau national interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac (BNIA) was founded in 1941. Previously, X.O. Armagnac fits in a natural triangle with three departments: Gers almost in its entirety, part of the Lot et Garonne and part of Landes. Cognac can also be labeled with one of the six appellations of the region: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires (or Bois à Terroir). Generally, cognac is perceived as a more industrial brandy as it’s largely dominated by major houses such as Rémy Martin, Hennessey, and Courvoisier. They have much in common: they are both French premium spirits produced in South West France, they are both white wine grape brandies with their own Appellation Contrôlée, they are both aged in oak in well-charred barrels, they can both be aged for considerable periods, they are both normally reduced in strength before bottling, and they share many of the same … In 1310, a Franciscan cardinal, Vital du Four, wrote a treaty describing 40 different health benefits of consuming eau-de-vie. Alquitaras pot stills. However, transporting wine overland to the ports was a costly process. “They are not there to strip and transfer raw material into neutral distillate. Generally, a well-crafted and aged Armagnac will offer a complex tapestry of aromas, which create a harmoniously heady experience. It’s beloved by professionals and those in the know, but outsold by its more popular sibling. By slightly decreasing its strength, you can reduce the alcohol bloom and open the flavours. How To Drink It & Armagnac Vs Cognac Charles-Philippe 2020-09-03T04:20:40-04:00. (This changed to 10 years in 2018.) Additionally, Armagnac contains no carbohydrates or fats. Firstly, Armagnac is best served at room temperature, which opens the flavours. Cognac’s vineyards were ravaged by the insects. The Armagnac Primer : Armagnac is cheaper and better than cognac. Cognac Aging Scale. Their geographical locations are somewhat similar but they both have unique microclimates and soils. It is a world famous brandy that originates in a wine producing region called cognac in Northeastern France. Being situated inland, this fine brandy has never achieved the heights of its coastal competitor Cognac but is a worthy competitor. and X.O. Delord 25 Year Bas Armagnac. In 1909, the Armagnac brandy region was legally defined and the three zones were formally established. 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. For wine lovers, the differences between Cognac and Armagnac are much like those found between big-name wine regions and under-the-radar appellations that also produce competitive, high-quality bottles, but to less fanfare. Today, Armagnac is produced across parts of the modern-day departments of Gers, Landes, and Lot-et-Garonne. Although some of these benefits are probably somewhat exaggerated, Vital du Four made some interesting observations. In contrast to French wine, Cognac is still known by its brands, rather than individual producers or estates. COPYRIGHT © 2013 - 2019 BESPOKE UNIT, LLC. Armagnac is a type of brandy or eau-de-vie that is named after the old Armagnac region of Gascony in south-western France. For instance, cognac uses a Charentais copper pot still while Armagnac favours a continuous column still, which results in very different eau-de-vie. Yet, some aged grappas can be surprisingly similar to Armagnac. Armagnac could be considered a better value than a similarly aged Cognac. Now that you have read our introductory guide to cognac, let’s dig deeper and learn more! Hence, a V.S.O.P. Armagnac Grapes vs. Cognac Grapes When it comes to Cognac, the most common grape in use today is the Ugni Blanc. Nevertheless, if you find an Armagnac too strong, you can use a typical method of adding a droplet of water. Producer: Frères Delord. Distillation techniques greatly evolved throughout the 19th century. By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our Further south than Cognac, Armagnac is another area in the west of France that produces a quality wine brandy. All Cognac is graded on an aging scale from youngest to oldest. "It's become known as a symbol of French luxury, the best brandy money can buy (yes, cognac is a brandy). While Armagnac does produce blends like cognac and using a similar ageing classification, a greater emphasis is placed on the yearly variations in yield and flavour. What is the difference between Cognac and Armagnac? Although the traders were free to consume it themselves, they often added it to the wine to help preserve it during shipping. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links. How To Drink It & Armagnac Vs Cognac. When you’re ready to dig deeper, seek out smaller labels for a more distinctive experience. Cognac must be made in the Charente and Charente-Maritime départements to the north of Bordeaux, whereas Armagnac comes from the Gascony region south of the city. Therefore, Armagnac tends to be quite fruit-forward with notes often associated with plums. Victor Hugo called cognac the "liquor of the gods. (A fourth appellation, Blanche d’Armagnac, governs the production of unaged brandy.) Thank You! Whereas Cognac is typically produced from one white grape—ugni blanc—Armagnac can be distilled from a base of four white grapes: ugni blanc, folle blanche, colombard and Baco 22A. When it comes to French alcohol based beverages, Cognac is one brandy that rules the roost. Firstly, Armagnac is more southern and inland while cognac is much closer to the coast. I say let’s have a few more and rather do that un-orthodoxically – meaning at complete random. However, there are lots of different varieties of brandy all over Europe and the world. While Armagnac can be aged for a minimum of one year to reach the VS (Very Special) standard (the … While Cognac must age for at least two years, some younger versions of armagnac only age for a year or so. Indeed, cognac was first produced in the 16th century as a solution for Dutch traders to reduce the costs of exporting wine. 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. Because it borders ocean ports, brandy from Cognac has always been more popular and commercially available.

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