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Brandy from the heart of France – the long-standing tradition of Cognac

Cognac is only allowed to be produced in the regions of Cognaçais, Charente and Charente-Maritime around the city of Cognac. The spirit owes its existence – just like other brandies – to the flourishing world of viticulture: France had been exporting wine to Northern Europe since very early times, and it was soon discovered that a wine distillate endured the long ship journeys better than still wine.

The brandy’s ability to be stored over longer periods, as well as its taste won people over, with the result that the distillation technique spread rapidly. At the beginning of the 17th century, distilleries in the Cognac region began distilling their brandies twice and perfected this technique. The protected origin, the double distillation method, and the long ageing periods in oak barrels are today the characteristic features of Cognac and define its distinct flavour. 


Cognac – strictly controlled production ensures outstanding results

Just like its close relative, Armagnac, Cognac is also mainly produced from three grape varieties: Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc), Folle Blanche and Colombard. The production involves several steps:

  • Base wine: A light base wine with pronounced acidity and approximately 8% alcohol is produced from the white wine grapes.
  • Raw distillate: The base wine is distilled in a so-called still to produce the so-called raw distillate (27-30% vol.).
  • Fine distillate: Only the middle cut is collected in the second distillation round. The so-called fine distillate contains 60-72% vol.
  • Barrel ageing: The finished distillate is filled in large oak barrels where it ages for several years in order to develop its aromas.
  • Blending: For selling, Cognacs from several barrels are usually blended in order to achieve as harmonious a result as possible. In addition, Cognac is diluted with water before bottling to achieve a drinking strength of 40% vol. 

Depending on the ageing period, Cognac is classified into quality grades: V.S. (aged for at least two years), V.S.O.P. (aged for at least four years), and XO (aged for at least six years). Outstanding specimens of these quality grades such as Camus or Courvoisier are available in the Heinemann shop.


Enjoy Cognac in style – with famous brands available from the Heinemann shop

Neat and without ice, typically served in a snifter – a good Cognac is an exquisite indulgence. However, this fine brandy is not to be underestimated, even as the main ingredient in popular cocktails like the Rolls Royce, the sidecar, or the simple French connection. Savour the vintage Cognacs of the Heinemann Editions as well – Heinemann provides your spirits ready to be picked up at the airport or delivers your online order directly to your doorstep.