Armagnac tends to come off the still at around 52–60% alcohol by volume (abv). The process of distillation had been adopted following the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Cognac is made in Cognac region whereas Armagnac is made in Armagnac region. Like Cognac, Armagnac is blended and labeled frequently with indications like V.S.O.P., X.O. Nevertheless, it can be enjoyed with a number of dishes too. If you were to add ice to Armagnac, you can’t control how it chills and dilutes. France itself hosts a wide selection of brandies that are referred to as eaux-de-vie de vin. The difference in mouthfeel results partially from the concentration of alcohol. 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. When you’re ready to dig deeper, seek out smaller labels for a more distinctive experience. The designations are: VS: Very Special – legally must be at least 2 and 1/2 years old, but most are 5-7 years old. Yet, some aged grappas can be surprisingly similar to Armagnac. However, it was a process largely used for creating medicinal remedies. Both offer a curved shape, which helps trap the volatile compounds that evaporate and produce the aromas. Hence, a V.S.O.P. 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! Their geographical locations are somewhat similar but they both have unique microclimates and soils. Cognac’s vineyards were ravaged by the insects. 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. In 1909, the Armagnac brandy region was legally defined and the three zones were formally established. However, transporting wine overland to the ports was a costly process. Armagnac and Cognac are both grape brandies, but are produced in different regions of France. As we state in all of our guides, there is no wrong way to drink a spirit as long as you are enjoying it. Armagnac is blended with older vintages than similarly labeled Cognacs. Pay attention to importers and distributors that represent brands you like. Cognac vs Armagnac The difference Cognac and Armagnac are France's signature spirits, both similar and very different at the same time. “Cognac is almost like the vodka that you store on the kitchen counter,” says Neal. Like its neighbouring brandy, Armagnac’s production is regulated by several French appellations and the region is divided into a number of individual zones. 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. 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. However, there are lots of different varieties of brandy all over Europe and the world. In 1310, a Franciscan cardinal, Vital du Four, wrote a treaty describing 40 different health benefits of consuming eau-de-vie. Brandy snifters are comfortable, large, and can be held in a way that easily warms the Armagnac. 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. Cognac and Armagnac in Cocktails. Armagnac is more rustic in production, which results in a full-flavored brandy that importer Charles Neal, of Charles Neal Selections, calls “a bit more…forward and punchy.” The brandy used to produce Armagnac was made historically by roving distillers. Similarly, the practice of barrel-ageing brandy became more common after realising that it improved the taste during storage between shipments. Since it’s distilled from wine, Armagnac should also be gluten-free and without risk for people with celiac’s disease or other sensitivities. In manufacturing Cognac, the entire process, growing grapes, fermentation, distillation, aging and bottling all takes place in the province of Cognac, France. Learn how your comment data is processed. These designations indicate the age of the youngest brandy in the blend. 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. This smooth, floral sipper … Consequently, a single shot of Armagnac should have no more than 100 calories in a similar way to other liquor like vodka or rum. By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our 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. meant the youngest eau-de-vie was aged least six years, but as of 2018, was revised to a stricter requirement of a minimum of at least 10 years of age. While Cognac must age for at least two years, some younger versions of armagnac only age for a year or so. V.S. However, Armagnac will also typically use Baco 22A, which isn’t permitted for cognac. Cognac vs Armagnac. Indeed, cognac was first produced in the 16th century as a solution for Dutch traders to reduce the costs of exporting wine. Armagnac Grapes vs. Cognac Grapes When it comes to Cognac, the most common grape in use today is the Ugni Blanc. The first key difference is that Armagnac is almost always distilled just once, whereas Cognac eau-de-vie is distilled twice. Unravelling the mystery of these two complex spirits can take a lifetime, but we're here to give you a head start. Bordeaux and other coastal towns such as Bayonne were prevalent trading ports. The Armagnac Primer : Armagnac is cheaper and better than cognac. He also suggested that it helped cure shyness and even help rejuvenate the tongue. By slightly decreasing its strength, you can reduce the alcohol bloom and open the flavours. This practice quickly spread to other regions and may have inspired the creation of cognac. The next time you’re making a cocktail with cognac, consider substituting armagnac for a more complex and robust drink. 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. While Armagnac was also affected, phylloxera was unable to thrive in its sandy soil. “Whereas Armagnac, texturally, is more like the vodka in the freezer, thicker and richer on the palate.”. 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. Producer: Frères Delord. Thank You! Firstly, Armagnac is more southern and inland while cognac is much closer to the coast. Indeed, Armagnac isn’t just an alternative to cognac but a whole other brandy of its own. 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. Although large balloon-shaped brandy snifters tend to be the most common choice of glassware, fine tulip glasses can improve your experience. Unless it’s blended or bottled at cask strength, it will typically be diluted to around 45–47% abv. Furthermore, it might even help prevent gallstones as well as type 2 diabetes. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, What Is Armagnac? Armagnac is often livelier and fruitier than cognac as it’s usually distilled just once. America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2019, Wine Enthusiast's 2019 Wine Star Award Winners, The Enthusiast 100:
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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. Armagnac vs Cognac. Yet, it described an apothecary remedy rather than an alcoholic drink. For instance, cognac uses a Charentais copper pot still while Armagnac favours a continuous column still, which results in very different eau-de-vie. Cognac is actually a type of brandy that has been distilled in the town of Cognac in France. As Armagnac is distilled only once, it likely offers more benefits than cognac when consumed in moderation. Being situated inland, this fine brandy has never achieved the heights of its coastal competitor Cognac but is a worthy competitor. Cognac is usually distilled from one. For instance, most Armagnac is released as Millésimes or vintages, which contain only the grapes harvested in the year noted on the bottle. 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. V.S.O.P indicates that the youngest eau-de-vie in the blend is at least four years old. Cognac vs Armagnac . Generally, a well-crafted and aged Armagnac will offer a complex tapestry of aromas, which create a harmoniously heady experience. means that the youngest brandy (called an eau-de-vie at this stage) is at least two years old. Otherwise, you can learn more about the best glasses to use with our full glassware guide. 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. Cognac is a brandy specifically made from wine in the Cognac region of France. COGNAC So why are so few people drinking it? When it comes to French alcohol based beverages, Cognac is one brandy that rules the roost. Cognac contains a larger portion of heart, or the middle section of the distillation run, considered to be the purest in flavor. Furthermore, the earliest sale of local eau-de-vie in the area was recorded as early as 1461 through tax records of a market in Saint-Sever. Armagnac is comparatively artisanal with a variety of small, independent and family-operated producers that create their own eau-de-vie. To overcome growing shortages, the Bureau national interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac (BNIA) was founded in 1941. Brandy is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding Cognac. 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. I say let’s have a few more and rather do that un-orthodoxically – meaning at complete random. XO: Extra Old – legally must be 6 years old, but most are aged between 7 to 40 years. COPYRIGHT © 2013 - 2019 BESPOKE UNIT, LLC. Similarly, Armagnac is known for its millésime expressions where the product consists of only one single vintage. (extra old) and an unofficial designation named Napoleon. The Charentais terroir The Cognac and Armagnac terroirs are separated by about 300 kilometers. 1936 with the creation of their appellations t control how it chills and.! Despite not specifically being an eau-de-vie at this stage ) is at least two years old but... Indicates that the youngest brandy in the Armagnac region wine or tulip Champagne glass will still quite... 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