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armagnac vs cognac

COPYRIGHT © 2013 - 2019 BESPOKE UNIT, LLC. 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. You can learn more about their similarities and differences by comparing our guides on how cognac is made and how Armagnac is made. The four biggest houses, Hennessy, Courvoisier, Rémy Martin and Martell, are global entities whose bottles are found behind almost any bar. Although it is harder to come by then Cognac and certainly less known, some people consider Armagnac a superior brandy. 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. The first key difference is that Armagnac is almost always distilled just once, whereas Cognac eau-de-vie is distilled twice. Furthermore, Ugni Blanc is the most popular grape for both Armagnac and cognac. 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. Neal says that the additional dilution contributes to Cognac’s lighter sensation. Since the spirit is sourced so commonly from different producers, most Cognacs are blended to produce various house expressions. Bordeaux and other coastal towns such as Bayonne were prevalent trading ports. 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. 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. Today, Armagnac is produced across parts of the modern-day departments of Gers, Landes, and Lot-et-Garonne. Combined with increased flexibility in their combination of grapes, there is a greater variety in flavours. 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. 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. I say let’s have a few more and rather do that un-orthodoxically – meaning at complete random. Region: Bas-Armagnac. Generally, a well-crafted and aged Armagnac will offer a complex tapestry of aromas, which create a harmoniously heady experience. Cognac undergoes a different production process than its less famous counterpart, with two rounds of distillation for a subtler flavor. If a bottle of Cognac is labeled “Fine Champagne,” it’s a blend of Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne brandies. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Delord 25 Year Bas Armagnac. Armagnac Grapes vs. Cognac Grapes When it comes to Cognac, the most common grape in use today is the Ugni Blanc. Meanwhile, a small tulip is easier for nosing and by holding it at the stem, you can control the brandy’s temperature. and Reserve to show the minimum age. 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. Armagnac is blended with older vintages than similarly labeled Cognacs. Cognac and Armagnac in Cocktails. Therefore, it was sold relatively cheaply and catered to a more affordable market. Share. Many of these grape growers and distillers work with multiple brands. Therefore, you risk losing the Armagnac’s flavours as they close with the cold and break down in the water. Cognac’s lesser-known older sibling, Armagnac is a surprisingly elusive brandy that offers merits far more attention than it receives. 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! The process of distillation had been adopted following the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. XO: Extra Old – legally must be 6 years old, but most are aged between 7 to 40 years. Brandy: 7 Key Differences By Jacki August 2, 2018. Yet, it described an apothecary remedy rather than an alcoholic drink. By using our website and/or subscribing to our newsletter, (A fourth appellation, Blanche d’Armagnac, governs the production of unaged brandy.) This is the main difference between Cognac and Armagnac. Cognac’s vineyards were ravaged by the insects. For instance, most Armagnac is released as Millésimes or vintages, which contain only the grapes harvested in the year noted on the bottle. 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). 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. Whatever makes Rémy Martin continue to push the boundaries, it's certainly paying off. In contrast to French wine, Cognac is still known by its brands, rather than individual producers or estates. These designations indicate the age of the youngest brandy in the blend. ... Armagnac, unlike Cognac, is single distilled and tends to be somewhat more rustic than Cognac. These laws were finely-tuned in 1936 with the creation of their appellations. Cognac is made in Cognac region whereas Armagnac is made in Armagnac region. Both of these brandies are produced in France. However, Armagnac will also typically use Baco 22A, which isn’t permitted for cognac. 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. Here's a primer on the liquors. Hence, a V.S.O.P. Armagnac production allows for a small dosage of sugar. you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our. 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. Cognac is typically not vintage-dated, better Armagnac often is. 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. Like Cognac, Armagnac is blended and labeled frequently with indications like V.S.O.P., X.O. Pay attention to importers and distributors that represent brands you like. Cognac vs. 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. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our, Why Ultra-Aged Spirits are Ripping You Off, Welcome to winemag.com! Vital du Four listed 40 different health benefits of eau-de-vie, which included topical applications for relieving headaches, paralysis, and colds. Nevertheless, like any alcoholic spirit, excess usually has far more drawbacks than benefits. Learn how your comment data is processed. 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. Cognac and Armagnac are both brandies made from white wine grapes. Like Cognac, Armagnac is blended and labeled frequently with indications like V.S.O.P., X.O. So why are so few people drinking it? On the other hand, in the case of Armagnac, all the production processes take place in Armagnac, France. 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. We can therefore expect significant differences in soils. Armagnac is often livelier and fruitier than cognac as it’s usually distilled just once. In Western France, the regions of Cognac and Armagnac produce some of the world’s most venerated grape brandies. Armagnac is a type of brandy or eau-de-vie that is named after the old Armagnac region of Gascony in south-western France. England was an important early destination for the spirit in the 1700s. (This changed to 10 years in 2018.) They were frequently visited by the aforementioned Dutch merchants who purchased salt, wine, and wood. Excluding their different geographical locations and climates, Armagnac is often released as yearly vintages rather than just blends like V.S.O.P. Nevertheless, it can be enjoyed with a number of dishes too. In this guide, you will learn everything that you need to know about Armagnac from its flavours and how to drink it: Simply use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read out entire detailed guide. 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. Therefore, the Dutch started purchasing the burned wine in greater quantities, which was easier to transport and could be diluted upon arrival in Holland. “Whereas Armagnac, texturally, is more like the vodka in the freezer, thicker and richer on the palate.”. This practice quickly spread to other regions and may have inspired the creation of cognac. Their geographical locations are somewhat similar but they both have unique microclimates and soils. 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. Further south than Cognac, Armagnac is another area in the west of France that produces a quality wine brandy. Distillation techniques greatly evolved throughout the 19th century. (extra old) and an unofficial designation named Napoleon. The two Champagne regions, like the famed sparkling wine region, are named for the high composition of chalk in the soil. Unless it’s blended or bottled at cask strength, it will typically be diluted to around 45–47% abv. 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. Armagnac liquor, which features a robust flavor, typically has a higher alcohol content than cognac. Main Difference – Cognac vs Armagnac. Cognac contains a larger portion of heart, or the middle section of the distillation run, considered to be the purest in flavor. For instance, Armagnac may feature enough antioxidants to help heart and blood circulation. Now that you have read our introductory guide to cognac, let’s dig deeper and learn more! And how do we taste these libations? (very special), V.S.O.P. (Armagnac is brandy made in the Armagnac region of France.) Therefore, Armagnac tends to be quite fruit-forward with notes often associated with plums. and X.O. Although Armagnac is traditionally served neat, it can also be enjoyed chilled with ice or even as part of a cocktail. Although large balloon-shaped brandy snifters tend to be the most common choice of glassware, fine tulip glasses can improve your experience. Armagnac vs Cognac. Firstly, Armagnac is more southern and inland while cognac is much closer to the coast. Armagnac and Rye are more spicy, intense and rustic, whereas Cognac and bourbon are smoother, sweeter and more nuanced. Cognac, on the other hand, is distilled twice in a pot still, which brings it to around 70% abv. Producer: Frères Delord. We've received your email address, and soon you will start getting exclusive offers and news from Wine Enthusiast. Both offer a curved shape, which helps trap the volatile compounds that evaporate and produce the aromas. 0. In fact, by pressing your hand on the glass, you can gently warm the spirit in order to explore its purity. Cognac is a brandy specifically made from wine in the Cognac region of France. "Both … The major difference between Cognac and Armagnac is the distillation. Choose Cognac and Armagnac like you would wine. The Armagnac Primer : Armagnac is cheaper and better than cognac. France itself hosts a wide selection of brandies that are referred to as eaux-de-vie de vin. As we state in all of our guides, there is no wrong way to drink a spirit as long as you are enjoying it. Nevertheless, if you find an Armagnac too strong, you can use a typical method of adding a droplet of water. Indeed, both are produced by distilling wine from a variety of dry and acidic white grapes. 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 … What is the difference between Cognac and Armagnac? In 1310, a Franciscan cardinal, Vital du Four, wrote a treaty describing 40 different health benefits of consuming eau-de-vie. When you’re ready to dig deeper, seek out smaller labels for a more distinctive experience. 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. How To Drink It & Armagnac Vs Cognac Charles-Philippe 2020-09-03T04:20:40-04:00. The primary grape used to make Cognac is Ugni Blanc, though smaller amounts of Folle Blanche (also called Picpoul) and Colombard are allowed. “They are not there to strip and transfer raw material into neutral distillate. Armagnac, meanwhile, it more likely to be fruity and intense when young. While Cognac must age for at least two years, some younger versions of armagnac only age for a year or so. Furthermore, it might even help prevent gallstones as well as type 2 diabetes. However, it’s more traditional to bottle vintage Armagnac … “[These] are column stills that are 15 plates or less,” says Leonardo Comercio, sales manager for PM Spirits, an importer that specializes in brandy. V.S.O.P indicates that the youngest eau-de-vie in the blend is at least four years old. Armagnac vs Cognac. Cognac is distilled in Charentais copper pot stills until they are a colorless spirit of about 70% alcohol. Indeed, grappa is made with pomace rather than the juice. As a result, it was able to continue producing and exporting its brandy albeit at a reduced capacity. However, these aren’t always aged and may bear a closer resemblance to Blanche d’Armagnac. Cognac is mostly produced by larger houses, Armagnac by small independent producers. In 1909, the Armagnac brandy region was legally defined and the three zones were formally established. Similarly, the practice of barrel-ageing brandy became more common after realising that it improved the taste during storage between shipments. Generally, cognac is perceived as a more industrial brandy as it’s largely dominated by major houses such as Rémy Martin, Hennessey, and Courvoisier. Usually, it’s diluted and bottled at 40%. If you were to add ice to Armagnac, you can’t control how it chills and dilutes. “Cognac is almost like the vodka that you store on the kitchen counter,” says Neal. (very superior old pale), X.O. 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. Unlike cognac, Armagnac can be sold without being aged since 2005, which is referred to as Blanche d’Armagnac. Armagnac could be considered a better value than a similarly aged Cognac. Victor Hugo called cognac the "liquor of the gods. In Cognac 97% of the grape variety used is Ugni-Blanc which produces fine, high-quality eaux-de-vie. Like cognac, Armagnac is usually enjoyed as a digestif following a hearty meal. Cognac Aging Scale. Consequently, a single shot of Armagnac should have no more than 100 calories in a similar way to other liquor like vodka or rum. Armagnac is a type of brandy that is produced in the in the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest France. 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. Additionally, Armagnac contains no carbohydrates or fats. However, transporting wine overland to the ports was a costly process. To overcome growing shortages, the Bureau national interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac (BNIA) was founded in 1941. While Cognac sets sales records year after year, Armagnac has re-emerged as a connoisseur’s drink. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links. VSOP: Very Special Old Pale – legally must be 4 and 1/2 years, but most are aged for 5-13 years. Cognac’s lesser-known older sibling, Armagnac is a surprisingly elusive brandy that offers merits far more attention than it receives. But in contrast to Armagnac, Cognac is not generally a region dominated by boutique family houses and niche producers. I like to think that Armagnac is to Cognac as Rye is to Bourbon. Although the traders were free to consume it themselves, they often added it to the wine to help preserve it during shipping. However, its demand changed during the phylloxera outbreaks in the late-19th century. For instance, cognac uses a Charentais copper pot still while Armagnac favours a continuous column still, which results in very different eau-de-vie. 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. 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. means that the youngest brandy (called an eau-de-vie at this stage) is at least two years old. It’s beloved by professionals and those in the know, but outsold by its more popular sibling. 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. Indeed, Armagnac isn’t just an alternative to cognac but a whole other brandy of its own. 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. However, to earn this designation, at least 50% of the blend must be Grande Champagne Cognac. 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… Today, he is often regarded as the forefather and founder of modern-day Armagnac. Otherwise, you can learn more about the best glasses to use with our full glassware guide. 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 is usually distilled from one. Cognac is actually a type of brandy that has been distilled in the town of Cognac in France. Armagnac allows 10 grapes but usually uses four. Meanwhile, Armagnac has been documented as a local eau-de-vie as early as the 14th century. Armagnac tends to come off the still at around 52–60% alcohol by volume (abv). 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. However, there are lots of different varieties of brandy all over Europe and the world. 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. Although some of these benefits are probably somewhat exaggerated, Vital du Four made some interesting observations. 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. 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. Since it’s distilled from wine, Armagnac should also be gluten-free and without risk for people with celiac’s disease or other sensitivities.

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