Contributed by By Mymi thesingingsommelier.com
*All Cognacs are brandies but not all brandies are Cognacs! Only brandies made in the region of Cognac in France can legally be labelled as such.
*Cognac is created by distilling a low alcohol wine made predominantly from the Ugni Blanc grape. Ugni Blanc originates from Italy where it is known as Trebbiano.
*Cognac is a blend. Master blenders craft it by artfully mixing brandies of various ages, different barrels and vineyards but all must emanate from the Cognac region.
*When purchasing Cognac, if the label states VS (Very Special) or 3-star, it means the youngest spirit of the blend is at least 2 years old. VSOP (Very Special Pale Reserve) or Reserve, the youngest spirit is at least 4 years old. Napoléon, XO (Extra Old) or Hors d’Âge, the youngest spirit is at least 6 years old but the law is due to change in 2016 to bring that number up to 10 years.
*As Cognacs (and other alcoholic beverages) age, a portion of the spirit in the barrel naturally evaporates and it is called the Angel’s Share. If you wonder why angels always seem so happy, it might be because every year, approximately 20 million bottles of Cognac vaporize into the heavens…