- masculine brandy from the Cognac region, used as a flavouring and for flambéing
(written as Cognac)the finest and best-known of the brandies from the wine-producing region in the Charente and Charente-Maritime départements in western France, centred on the town of Cognac. Cognac is normally made from Trebbiano grapes. If the Cognac is labelled fine Champagne, most of the grapes will have been grown in the Champagne region. Once the grapes have fermented, the liquid is double-distilled in a copper pot still as soon as possible, ideally during the winter. This ‘raw’ Cognac is then oak-aged to soften it and enhance the aroma and taste for at least three years. The producer can control the style of the final product by such factors as the choice of grapes, the age of the oak barrels, the length of ageing and the use of legal additives such as caramel and sugar syrup. Cognac labels usually carry stars to suggest quality, but there is no official scale – more stars merely indicates a longer period of ageing than for the same wine with fewer stars. Labels can also carry the abbreviations VS (very superior), VSOP (very superior old pale) or VVSOP (very, very superior old pale). If the Cognac is labelled extra or reserve, it is the best quality from this producer.
(written as Cognac)