Brandy is the alcoholic beverage distilled from wine or a fermented fruit mash. The term used alone generally refers to the grape product; brandies made from the wines or fermented mashes of other fruits are commonly identified by the specific fruit name. With the exception of certain fruit types, known as white types, brandies are usually aged. Aging in wooden containers deepens colour to amber, the use of paraffin-lined casks or earthenware maintains the original clear colour, and the addition of a caramel solution darkens colour. Beverage brandy contains about 50 percent alcohol by volume; brandy used to fortify sherry, Madeira, and the other dessert wines contains about 80–95 percent alcohol by volume. Like other distilled liquor, brandy does not improve after bottling. Star or letter designations, formerly indicating age, are used by shippers to express product quality. The name comes from the Dutch brandewijn (“burnt wine”), referring to the application of heat in distillation. Commercial distillation of brandy from wine originated in the 16th century. According to one story, a Dutch shipmaster began the practice by concentrating wine for shipment, intending to add water upon reaching home port, but the concentrated beverage immediately found acceptance.
Most wine-producing countries also make brandy. Outstanding French brandies include cognac, from the Charente and Charente-Maritime departements of France, usually considered the finest of all brandies, and Armagnac, from the Gers region. The sherry-producing centres of Spain and the port-producing centres of Portugal are also known for brandy. Greek brandy includes Metaxa, sweetened and usually darkened with caramel, and ouzo, colourless and flavoured with anise or licorice. American brandy, produced mainly in California, tends to be neutral and uniform in character. Pisco, mainly produced in Peru, is distilled from muscat wines. Brandies distilled from grape pomace, or marc, the material remaining in the winepress after grape pressing, include the French eau-de-vie de marc, for which Burgundy is well known, and grappa, an unaged, sharp-tasting brandy produced in both Italy and California. Major wine-producing regions of France French Wine Region Brandies are usually served alone or with soda as after-dinner drinks. They are used to flavour mixed drinks and various dessert dishes and as fuel to produce the flame in such flamed dishes as crepes Suzette and cherries jubilee.
Brandy is also used as a base spirit in the production of another type of distilled liquor, the liqueur. History of Armagnac From the Gascony region in southwest France,Armagnac, the cousin of Cognac, is a brandy that hails. (Armagnac, 2015) For example, Cognac is a produced from a base of white wine, but unlike Cognac. With a round and rich flavor, it goes through only a single slow distillation which produces a brandy. After the distillation, from the local oak forest, it undergoes an extended period of aging in barrels made primarily. To shed its harshness of youth, the longer aging allows the brandy. Although Armagnac sales in the US ,it have been increase the sale rate in recent years the artisanal nature of this spirits, it means that production is small and it remains a secret to be discovered by the most wine and spirits lovers. The Wine Lovers of NYC wants to change something! Join us on Sunday, November 13 as May Matta-Aliah, the New York Armagnac Ambassador and president of In the Grape. An organization dedicated to making wine and spirits education accessible to everyone, it will be present 6 wonderful Armagnacs in addition to a welcome Armagnac Punch. This promises to be very fun and educational adventure into one of the greatest brandies of France and that still remains a well-kept secret to most, but not for long. (Introduction to Armagnac, 2015)
Besides that, by France’s best-kept secret, Armagnac let’s get seduced. Steeped in a history, that goes back 700 years and flavored by the characters that can only be found in the Gascony. (An Introduction, 2014) A sip of Armagnac recalls secret cellars, musketeers, French berets and a character as unique as the people that put their heart and soul into producing it. Join us on this guided journey through the picturesque vineyards and it also got dramatic cellars of Gascony. We can enjoy an unprecedented tasting of the Armagnacs. The tasting will highlight the range of styles produced from VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) old to XO (Extra Old). And It also from the Hors d’Age to the Vintages. Proprietary distillation techniques and the importance of the local oak barrels will all be discussed it local in Grape Varieties. Of this fine spirit and an appreciation for why the French are more than happy to keep this seductive spirit a secret all to them, you will come away with a deeper understanding. As the finest producer of brandy in the world, Armagnac is only one of the world are the true rival to Cognac for recognition. It is one of only three officially demarcated brandy regions in Europe, and it along with Cognac and Jerez in Spain. Its quantity of the production is significantly lower than that of the Cognac region. For every six bottles of Armagnac, it will sold around the world there are one hundred bottles of cognac sold. For around 200 years longer than Cognac, Armagnac has been making brandy (French Entree, 2003).
Armagnac is a French grape brandy and it is the most similar to cognac, but it ultimately very different in production and flavor profile. In this post, I’ll cover the basics of the armagnac. In next post, I’ll discuss the main differences between the cognac and the armagnac. In the presentation, Armagnac is the most established schnaps in France, with references going back the extent that 1411 amid it was utilized for the most part for helpful reasons. These days, the liquor being the drink of decision for us to quiet the nerves following stun. There was 200 years previously the main specify of Cognac and has dependably thrown a shadow over the schnaps it jumps at the chance to see as a littler, non-debilitating, and more youthful sibling. These days anyway it is Armagnac which is the rising star and enormous sibling Cognac has a considerable measure to keep an eye out for! Made in the Pays de Gascogne in the far south west of France, Armagnac has three particular delivering locales (The OXFORD WINE Company, 1840):
– Bas armagnac: delivers the most lofty Armagnacs with a specific bundle of plum.
– Tenareze: delivers some exceptionally perfumed spirits which are now and again preferably coarser than those from alternate regions. It is in charge of a large portion of the generation of Armagnac.
– Haut armagnac: this epithet has the biggest domain however the littlest vineyard zone with the littlest creation of the three zones.
Armagnac is still mostly created by little scale rustic cultivators with a few makers sharing versatile stills that are driven around the wide open at generation time. Local people used to joke that when crows went over the district they flew topsy turvy so they couldn’t perceive how poor the region was! Regardless of whether this is the situation these days is dubious yet in examination with Cognac where worldwide makers are ordinary, this dependability to the foundations of the customs of the Armagnac business is one of many components that safe a place in the hearts of shoppers for this authentic soul.
Armagnac is to be gradually tasted and delighted in and it is legitimately tasted much like wine.
Here are the things to search for when tasting Armagnac:
– Color – The color of an Armagnac is vigorously dependant upon to what extent it was matured. The more drawn out the soul has spent in wood barrels, the wealthier the shading. More youthful Armagnac that hasn’t invested much energy in wood barrels is brilliant and nectar shaded while more seasoned Armagnacs are profound dark colored and mahogany in shading.
– Aroma – When a glass of Armagnac is first put to the nose, the liquor is the primary thing you’ll smell. After the main starting aroma, hold up a couple of minutes and convey it to the nose once more. Since your nose is utilized to the liquor fragrance, you will have the capacity to identify the gentler smells of the Armagnac – like vanilla, wood, cooked nuts and a trace of dried dim organic product.
– Taste – Taking only a little taste, let the Armagnac lay on your tongue and after that twirl it tenderly around your mouth to move beyond the liquor consume and appreciate all the inconspicuous kind of the soul.
Production Methods Distillation
The distillation takes place during winter with a limit date of 31st March of the year following the harvest; for several years this date has been brought forward by an annual decree. The wine is often distilled on the estate, sometimes using a travelling distiller who goes from cellar to cellar distilling the winemakers’ wine. It is also produced in distilleries by professional distillers or cooperatives. Most of Armagnac (about 95%) is obtained using a specific alambic for this eau-de-vie: a continuous Armagnac alambic. It is a pure copper apparatus that was endorsed in 1818 (by a stove maker in Auch, Sieur Tuilliere, under the reign of King Louis XVIII), and adapted, modified, improved by the region’s distillers. It truly gives the personality to Armagnac. (5 differences between cognac and armagnac, 2016)
The wine permanently feeds the alambic from the bottom of the cooler. It is thanks to this that the alcohol vapours contained in the serpentine cool down. It is driven towards the distillation column where it goes down from plate to plate until it reaches the boiler. With the strong heat provided by the furnace, the vapours from the wine pass back up the column and bubble in the wine at the level of each plate. They become enriched with the alcohol and the aromatic substances in the wine before being condensed then cooled in the serpentine. On leaving the alambic, the eau-de-vie is transparent and its alcohol degree can vary between 52% and 72% (though it is traditionally around 52% to 60%). At this moment, the Armagnac is still full of ardour, though it already has great aromatic richness: very fruity (plum, grape) and often floral (vine flowers or lime flower). The ageing in wood will give it its complexity and increasing softness.
1. The ageing
Once it has been distilled, Armagnac is put to age in « pieces »: 400 litre oak barrels mostly from the forests of Gascony or Limousin. These pieces are stored in the cellars where the temperature and the humidity are important for the quality of the ageing. Thereafter, the cellar master monitors the evolution of his eaux-de-vie:
– The extraction of the tannin compounds and aromas from the barrel
– The evaporation of a part of the eau-de-vie and the reduction of the alcohol degree (about ? degree per year), known as the ‘angel’s share’.
– The evolution of the aromas coming from the wood and the wine through a slow oxidation of the Armagnac in contact with the air through the barrel.
The eaux-de-vie stay in new barrels just until the dissolution level of substances in the wood is optimal. They are then transferred to older barrels in order to avoid an excessive extraction of wood and continue their slow evolution: the substances in the wood become more refined, aromas of vanilla and prunes develop, the « rancio » character appears and the alcohol degree diminishes gradually through the evaporation of the alcohol (the angel’s share). The eau-de-vie takes on a lovely amber colour that then turns to mahogany. Lovely amber colour that then turns to mahogany
Colour of armagnac
After a certain number of years and constant evaluation by the cellar master, that can be as long as 50 years, the eaux-de-vie are put into glass so that there is no more wood extraction and only once it is considered to be at its peak: it is the famous demi-johns (known as ‘bonbonnes’ in Armagnac), preciously conserved in the ‘paradis’.
Once the cellar master considers that the ageing is sufficient, he will start ‘les coupes’, in other words, making harmonious blends of several eaux-de-vie of different origins and ages. The level of alcohol for consumption (40% vol. minimum) can be achieved by gradually adding ‘petites eaux’ a blend of Armagnac and distilled water that is aged independently and used exclusively for reducing blends.
The vintage is a specificity in Armagnac that corresponds exclusively to the year of harvest. Reducing vintages is often not necessary particularly if the cellar is humid so they are often available at their natural alcohol strength of ageing that is generally between 40% and 48% vol. Once in bottles, Armagnac no longer ages though it is important to keep the bottle upright so that the alcohol can’t attack the cork.
– Not just for after dinner (Five Tips For Drinking Armagnac, 2016). Brandies and Armagnacs do not just have to be after dinner sips. Instead, try a Blanche Armagnac for a fresh and flavorful start to a meal. It can also be paired with smoked seafood, caviar, and carpaccio. Or, it can be served between heavy courses as a palate cleanser. Other, aged in oak, Armagnacs are perfectly paired with game or grilled meats.
– Warmer is sometimes better. An Armagnac that has been aged for many years and has deep, rich flavors does well when it is warmer. Make sure the bottle is at room temperature before serving. Once it has been poured into your glass, cup the glass with the palm of your hand to gently warm the spirit. This will allow that aromas to show themselves and enhance the drinking experience. However, other bottles are more enjoyable when they are slightly chilled. Do some research into your particular Armagnac before serving. No matter the temperature, Armagnac should be served in a thin-glassed snifter or wine glass to bring the aromas to your nose.
– Treat it as a sauce. The next time you are enjoying a simple fruit dessert or ice cream, try pouring some Armagnac over top. Choose a spirit with a thicker body and flavor notes that will match the dessert.
– Pairing with cigars. There is a whole science behind pairing cigars and Armagnac. However, it all comes down to your preference. Armin recommends contrasting the flavors of the cigar and spirit rather than trying to match them. For example, sip a fruity Armagnac with a spicier cigar for beautiful balance.
Armagnac, the cousin of Cognac, is a brandy that hails from the Gascony region in southwest France. Like Cognac it is produced from a base of white wine, but unlike Cognac, it goes through only a single slow distillation which produces a brandy with a round and rich flavor. After distillation, it undergoes an extended period of aging in barrels made primarily from the local oak forest. The longer aging allows the brandy to shed its harshness of youth and develop into a wonderfully supple and seductive spirit. A unique characteristic of Armagnac in the spirits world is the tradition by distillers in the region to set aside some Armagnac every year and allow it to age as a single vintage brandy. These rarities are wonderful birthday and anniversary treats and make for special gift items.