Cognac is produced in France in the region Poitou-Charentes, Cognac. There is grown the main variety of brandy of grapes – Ugni Blanc – which ripen slowly, has a high acidity, high yield and disease resistance. Used in the production of other varieties – Colombard, Montilla and Folle Blanche, they give an aromatic and rich taste the alcohol, but difficult in cultivation.
The production of cognac is not only legally regulated in France, but also patented at the international level. Other spirits that are not produced in the Charente, you do not have the right to be called cognac.
The process of making brandy consists of several stages, which already have a tradition: gathering grapes, squeezing the juice, distillation of wine, aging in barrels and the blending of brandy for expanding bouquets.
The main stages in the production of cognac
1. The collection and extraction of berries.
The vines are planted at intervals of about 3 m, so that the grapes get the most sun. Berries are harvested in early October, and you press horizontal presses, to prevent damage to the bone and not to spoil the taste of the juice. Squeezed the juice was put to ferment without added sugar.
2. Distillation of the juice.
After 3 weeks, dry white wine is ready, at this stage, the beverage contains about 8% alcohol. The wine is sent to a double distillation in Charentais patented. The result is a brandy spirit that is sent to the exposure.
3. Aging in oak barrels.
Contains the resulting alcohol in oak barrels at a temperature of 15° from two to fifty years. The alcohol loses some of its strongholds, and oak wood gives the drink color and a pleasant bouquet. Substances that are absorbed from the oak, known as dry extract. To make cognac barrels made from French oak forests of the Limousin and Tronza. From this wood the barrels are strong and at the same time, porous and contain a sufficient amount of tannins – tannins, which form the bouquet of cognac.
After the brandy of the maturity of the process of aging stop and drink poured into glass containers to prevent contact with air and the further development of the aging process.
4. The mixing of drinks.
The last stage of cooking brandies is to mix different flavor drinks, for the formation of new bouquets. This art of the wizard, learning all their lives, very often place the cognac master is inherited.
Advice 2 : How to infuse cognac
However, in fact, a significant portion of products that are sold in shops under the name "cognac", in fact, is brandy. The fact that all over the world cognac is called alcoholic drink produced from grapes grown exclusively in one of the six areas of the French province of Cognac, located around the city.
In France there are strict laws governing the process of brandy production, from grape varieties and boundaries of the area of its cultivation to the bottling of drinks in bottles.
So what is the real brandy?
For the production of cognac is permissible to use only eight white grape varieties, the main of which - "Ugni Blanc". After harvest, press the grapes and ferment the resulting juice. On average, the process takes four weeks. Then the process of double distillation in "Charentais" method. The resulting distillate – "water of life" is poured into barrels of Limousin oak and allowed to stand two years in the cellars. There, in a special microclimate, with a constant temperature of 150 degrees Celsius and humidity up to the 950S, the brandy interacts with the wood, enriching the taste and aroma. Over the years, the part of the alcohol evaporates through the pores in the wood barrels. This loss is romantically called the "angels share".
The final step in brandy production is blending – the process of mixing cognac spirits of different age, vintage, region, grape variety, etc., to obtain a blend (taste and aroma) characteristic of a specific brand of cognac.
If the label of a bottle of cognac there is a marking "aging 5 years, this suggests that five years is the minimum age of the cognac. While in the blend, usually present and the older spirits. In addition, many of the cognac house age increases brandy alcohol in their cognacs to enhance their status. For example, V. S. – make a three-year old V. S. O. P. – five or six years, and X. O. – eight or ten years.
Is it possible the manufacture of cognac at home?
Considering all the above, it becomes obvious that to make brandy at home is impossible. Cognac is a product of the distillation of grape spirits infused in a special way, it is impossible to provide outside of industrial production.
In the Internet you can find recipes "homemade brandy", but they all boil down, generally, to the repainting of vodka or moonshine with the tea and flavoring with vanilla or cinnamon. These compounds usually do not insist. Such products are, of course, has a right to exist, but it is not only irrelevant to the actual brandy, but not like it nor taste, nor smell.
Advice 3 : Three simple recipe for homemade brandy
Recipe homemade brandy with the vanilla
This recipe to prepare brandy from vodka, or from well-filtered vodka.
You will need:
- 3 liters of vodka or a good home brew;
- 10 PCs cloves;
- 6 pieces of prunes;
- 100 g of sugar;
- 2 tbsp. teaspoon dry welding;
- a packet of vanillin.
All the ingredients are put in a glass jar and cover with vodka (moonshine). Shake the liquid and remove three days in a dark place. Once a day brandy should be carefully stirred. After three days strain the brandy and pour the finished drink bottles.
Homemade cognac on oak bark
This recipe for homemade somewhat harder, as it requires more ingredients.
You will need the following products:
- 1 liter of vodka;
- 3 tsp of sugar;
- 300-400 g of a mixture of raisins, rose hips and dried apples.
- 1 tsp of lemon juice;
- 2 tablespoons of oak bark;
- ginger and vanilla on the tip of a knife.
Pour vodka into a 3-liter jar. Oak bark, place in a bag of cheesecloth and tie tight. Add to vodka all the necessary ingredients and mix thoroughly. Close the jar nylon cover and place it in a dark place for 10 days. Every five days, shake the liquid in the pot. After 10 days, strain the homemade brandy on oak bark and pour it into bottles.
Recipe for homemade brandy on the spices
This recipe will appeal to fans of "peppercorns" in beverages. Preparing brandy in spices as simple as the beverages in the previous recipes.
You will need:
- 3 liters of vodka;
- 1 tbsp dry tea infuser (better to take the highest grade);
- 5 Bay leaves;
- 5 peas of black pepper;
- half pod of red pepper;
- 1 tbsp of dried lemon balm;
- 3 tbsp of sugar;
vanillin at the tip of the knife.
Put all spices in a jar and cover with vodka. Cognac insist 10 days in a cool dark place, then strain the drink, squeeze what's left in the Bank, and again strain through cheesecloth. The homemade brandy is finished, you can pour it into bottles and seal.