Cognac

Cognac is the most famous brandy in the world, with the most confusing classification system of any spirit.  The Classification system that most people are familiar with are VS (Very Special, not less than 2.5 years in a barrel), VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale, not less than 4.5 years), and XO (Extra Old, more than 6.5 years in a barrel).  These initials actually are “English,” not translation, because the English and Irish used to control a great deal of the brandy production in Cognac. Most of the top Cognac producers leave their brandies in barrels a lot longer than these classification minimums--and some producers don’t even use this nomenclature. So the classification system may be helpful, but you really need to know the producer to understand the classification system, thus creating a great deal of brand loyalty.

The actual location of the vineyard where the grapes are grown is often more important than the time the brandies spend in a barrel. Basically, the Cognac Region is like a target with six concentric rings, with the Bullseye in the middle called the Grande Champagne AOC. (This has nothing to do with the Champagne region whewre the sparkling wines come from!) There’s only about 32,000 acres of planted vineyards in this appellation—Considerably less than Napa Valley’s total acreage of 45,000, or about the same size as the City limits of San Francisco. The grapes in the Grand Champagne Region grow in Campanian chalk soil, and have a subtle floral taste. The brandies from this region age very well, so that’s why there are so many very old bottles of Grande Champagne.

The other regions of Cognac in the target of concentric circles is as thus:

  • Grande Champagne. The most expensive and highly sought after.
  • Petite Champagne. The Cognacs produced in the next circle are similar to cognacs of Grande Champagne, but less subtle.
  • The smallest of the districts of Cognac with less than 10,000 acres of vineyards, these Cognacs mature much quicker.
  • Fins Bois. The Cognacs from this region are said the smell of freshly squeezed grapes
  • Bons Bois. This region receives more weather in the coastal climate pattern, and the brandies mature very quickly.
  • Bois Ordinaires. With these Cognacs you are said to be able to taste the sea.

To have the appellation on the label, the grapes have to be sourced 100% from that appellation. The one exception is the Fine Champagne classification, which means the grapes are a combination of Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne, with at least half the grapes coming from the Grande Champagne region.

 

Jean Fillioux Cigar Club 1er Cru du Cognac Grande Champagne
Jean Fillioux Cigar Club 1er Cru du Cognac Grande Champagne $ 125.00
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A. Edmond Audry XO Cognac AOC Fine Champagne
A. Edmond Audry XO Cognac AOC Fine Champagne $ 90.00
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Frapin VSOP Cognac Cuvee Rare Grande Champagne
Frapin VSOP Cognac Cuvee Rare Grande Champagne $ 60.00
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Hennessy VSOP Cognac Privilege
Hennessy VSOP Cognac Privilege $ 65.00
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Kelt VSOP Cognac Tour du Monde
Kelt VSOP Cognac Tour du Monde $ 65.00
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Frapin VS Cognac Luxe Grande Champagne
Frapin VS Cognac Luxe Grande Champagne $ 40.00
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Dudognon Cognac 10 Year Cognac Grand Champagne Reserve
Dudognon Cognac 10 Year Cognac Grand Champagne Reserve $ 50.00
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Germain-Robin Craft-Method Brandy 750 ml
Germain-Robin Craft-Method Brandy 750 ml $ 50.00
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Raymond Ragnaud Grande Champagne Cognac XO 1er Cru
Raymond Ragnaud Grande Champagne Cognac XO 1er Cru $ 105.00
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Jean Fillioux Cognac 1er Cru Reserve Familiale Tres Vieille Grande Champagne
Jean Fillioux Cognac 1er Cru Reserve Familiale Tres Vieille Grande Champagne $ 275.00
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Delpech Fougerat VSOP Cognac
Delpech Fougerat VSOP Cognac $ 45.00
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Francois Peyrot Cognac Heritage Tres Vieux Grande Champagne Cognac
Francois Peyrot Cognac Heritage Tres Vieux Grande Champagne Cognac $ 200.00
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Francois Peyrot Private Reserve 12 Year Cognac
Francois Peyrot Private Reserve 12 Year Cognac $ 68.00
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Hennessy Black Cognac
Hennessy Black Cognac $ 45.00 $ 50.00
Sale
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Hine Cognac Antique XO 1er Cru
Hine Cognac Antique XO 1er Cru $ 208.00
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Hine Cognac Homage to Thomas Hine Grand Cru Fine Champagne Cognac
Hine Cognac Homage to Thomas Hine Grand Cru Fine Champagne Cognac $ 148.00
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Tesseron Cognac XO Selection Lot 90
Tesseron Cognac XO Selection Lot 90 $ 65.00
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Cognac Park Fins Bois Single Cru Organic Cognac
Cognac Park Fins Bois Single Cru Organic Cognac $ 45.00
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Martell Blue Swift VSOP Cognac 750 ml
Martell Blue Swift VSOP Cognac 750 ml $ 48.00
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Ysabel Regina Brandy
Ysabel Regina Brandy $ 62.00
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Chateau de Montifaud Cognac XO Fine Petite Champagne 750 ml
Chateau de Montifaud Cognac XO Fine Petite Champagne 750 ml $ 140.00
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Distillerie du Peyrat Organic Selection Cognac
Distillerie du Peyrat Organic Selection Cognac $ 40.00
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Courvoisier XO Cognac
Courvoisier XO Cognac $ 100.00 $ 135.00
Sale
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Hector Legrand XO French Brandy
Hector Legrand XO French Brandy $ 35.00
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Martell VSOP Medaillon Cognac 750 ml
Martell VSOP Medaillon Cognac 750 ml $ 48.00
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Cognac Frapin VSOP "Vat No 9" Cognac 1er Cru Grande Champagne
Cognac Frapin VSOP "Vat No 9" Cognac 1er Cru Grande Champagne $ 55.00
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Martell Blue Swift VSOP Cognac 375 ml
Martell Blue Swift VSOP Cognac 375 ml $ 24.00
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Martell VS Single Distillery Fine Cognac
Martell VS Single Distillery Fine Cognac $ 35.00
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Pierre Ferrand Cognac 1er Cru Reserve Double Cask 750 ml
Pierre Ferrand Cognac 1er Cru Reserve Double Cask 750 ml $ 75.00
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Hine Triomphe Grand Champagne Cognac
Hine Triomphe Grand Champagne Cognac $ 900.00
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