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The Quintessence of Fine Cognac's.
Remy Martin is the true leader in the production of 100% Grand Champagne Cognac's, and is also a top producer of Fine Cognac's as well.
Cognac: The story of cognac is one of relationship between man and the land, united. In the time it takes a new vine to grow, the wine to be distilled and the eau-de-vie to age, the two are one. Cognac is a symbol of an entire region as well as the driving force behind its economy. Without many generations of vine growers, distillers, coopers and cellar masters, the soil of Charente would never have made its fame. Craftsmen and specialist contributed expertise over the centuries to force cognac’s unique character and make it a successful product on a global scale. In the 16th century, the wines were transformed into eau-de-vie and matured in oak cask to become cognac. This was to be the start of a great adventure for the town that was to become the capital of a world famous trade. The town of Cognac was already well known for its wine trade and was the well-established center of the salt business, an activity dating back to the 11th century. The earliest evidence of the brandy trade in the Charente dates back to the mid 1500’s. It was not until 1617, however that the use of the term “Cognac” was first mentioned in a sales contract. Around 1850 the trading houses started to export in bottles, thereby gaining worldwide publicity and giving the consumer greater confidence All cognacs are brandies, but not all brandies are cognacs. This is simple to explain, if you plant grape vine in California and distill the juice and age the juice much like the process in Cognac, France you would still have to call it brandy due to land where it was produced. All cognacs must come from Cognac, France to bear the name cognac. Cognac is a double distilled white wine brandy, produced only in a limited area of the west of France. It must age a minimum of two and a half years in French oak cask only. It must be bottled at not less than 80 proof. The secret of cognac is to be found in the soil from which it comes. The cognac region is divided up into six Crus. The first and finest Cru is Grande Champagne with a crumbly, chalky soil and rich in calcium carbonate, its sure to produce a superb eau-de-vie. This “Premier Cru” produces light eau-de-vie with a predominantly floral bouquet requiring long aging in the cask to achieve maturity. The next Cru is Petite Champagne, in this “Deuxieme Cru” the soil is slightly less chalky and has higher clay content. This Cru is next in order of merit and produces very fine eau-de-vie. Borderies, fins Bois, The Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires round out the final six Crus of Cognac, France. The grape planted to produce just about 100% of all cognac is Ugni Blanc also known as Trebbiano. Easy to graft sturdy and cropping heavily, this variety provides a light, acid Charente wine ideal for making superb Cognacs. All cognac houses have their own blend of ages at which they bottle their products. For example Remy Martin will let their X.O cognac rest for an average of 22 to 25 years in French oak cask. They will blend over 300 eau-de-vie to produce this “Excellent Cognac”. Remy Martin with its crown jewel also known as Louis XIII, this quality cognac has been carefully tended to by three generations of Remy cellar masters and ending up with a final result of a cognac that all others aspire to be. This brilliant masterpiece will rest in oak cask for upwards of 100 years and the Baccarat crystal decanter lets you know that you are in the presence of a timeless treasure. My personal favorite by Remy Martin is Remy Martin Extra, aged in 19th century oak cask and aged to perfection, this cognac is magnificent in all aspects. Hennessy is another house that produces some of the finest cognacs that the world has to offer, with their own crown jewel the Hennessy Ellipse. This display of craftsmanship is one that you just can’t argue with, precious and delicate it is an all-around hallmark. Some of my other favorites worth mentioning are the Martell Cordon Bleu and Kelt X.O. I lift my glass to a toast to all of those who understand the true art in the world of distilled spirits, Cognac is one of the finest expressions that man could craft derived strictly from the earth and enjoyed the world over.
Cheers; Michael A. MacDonnell