armagnac vs cognac

Armagnac is blended with older vintages than similarly labeled Cognacs. 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. Armagnac vs Cognac. How To Drink It & Armagnac Vs Cognac Charles-Philippe 2020-09-03T04:20:40-04:00. They cleanse it and give it a high aromatic tone that would still be still be a flavorful distillate before it even goes into barrel.”, A column still creates texture differences between Cognac and Armagnac as well. Meanwhile, Armagnac has been documented as a local eau-de-vie as early as the 14th century. Cognac vs armagnac, an alternative malternative session We’ve had good fun recently with some cognacs and armagnacs, so we’re rather in a brandy mood I have to say. For instance, cognac uses a Charentais copper pot still while Armagnac favours a continuous column still, which results in very different eau-de-vie. Indeed, both are produced by distilling wine from a variety of dry and acidic white grapes. Although some of these benefits are probably somewhat exaggerated, Vital du Four made some interesting observations. and Reserve to show the minimum age. Cognac’s lesser-known older sibling, Armagnac is a surprisingly elusive brandy that offers merits far more attention than it receives. (This changed to 10 years in 2018.) Cognac and Armagnac in Cocktails. Privacy Policy, By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of ourPrivacy Policy, Welcome to winemag.com! On the other hand, in the case of Armagnac, all the production processes take place in Armagnac, France. Now that you have read our introductory guide to cognac, let’s dig deeper and learn more! Initially, Armagnac’s wine producers would present a cask of brandy or “vin brûlée” (burned wine) to the traders as a gift. 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. By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our Some also bottle their own Cognac. It’s easy to overlook the details that define regional spirits, but their discovery can be very rewarding. He also suggested that it helped cure shyness and even help rejuvenate the tongue. This practice quickly spread to other regions and may have inspired the creation of cognac. 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. How To Drink It & Armagnac Vs Cognac. Like cognac, Armagnac is usually enjoyed as a digestif following a hearty meal. Therefore, cognac has a greater oceanic influence whereas Armagnac is shielded by the Landes forest while also being touched by the Mediterranean’s southerly winds. Otherwise, you can learn more about the best glasses to use with our full glassware guide. Armagnac uses the VS/VSOP/XO designations for age as Cognac, but the ages don’t match up perfectly; the youngest eau-de-vie in a XO Armagnac only has to be aged six years instead of eight. Cognac is typically not vintage-dated, better Armagnac often is. Indeed, grappa is made with pomace rather than the juice. (A fourth appellation, Blanche d’Armagnac, governs the production of unaged brandy.) COGNAC Being situated inland, this fine brandy has never achieved the heights of its coastal competitor Cognac but is a worthy competitor. The primary grape used to make Cognac is Ugni Blanc, though smaller amounts of Folle Blanche (also called Picpoul) and Colombard are allowed. 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. Delord 25 Year Bas Armagnac. Armagnac production allows for a small dosage of sugar. Nevertheless, it can be enjoyed with a number of dishes too. However, it’s extremely limited and it remains a dry spirit. Cognac is made in Cognac region whereas Armagnac is made in Armagnac region. Armagnac is comparatively artisanal with a variety of small, independent and family-operated producers that create their own eau-de-vie. For instance, Armagnac may feature enough antioxidants to help heart and blood circulation. Armagnac is often livelier and fruitier than cognac as it’s usually distilled just once. “Cognac is almost like the vodka that you store on the kitchen counter,” says Neal. Armagnac, meanwhile, it more likely to be fruity and intense when young. Cognac can also be labeled with one of the six appellations of the region: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires (or Bois à Terroir). 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. Darroze les grands assemblages 12-year-old armagnac, 43 per cent, 70cl. Similarly, Armagnac is regarded as a far more artisanal brandy than cognac as it’s often made by local family-owned producers rather than large, industrial companies. 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. Worth noting is that these designations don’t always show up on a bottle, and most quality producers will exceed their minimum listed age significantly. You can learn more about their similarities and differences by comparing our guides on how cognac is made and how Armagnac is made. It is a world famous brandy that originates in a wine producing region called cognac in Northeastern France. Cognac’s vineyards were ravaged by the insects. Cognac received its Appellation d’Origine Contrôllee (AOC) in 1936. In 1310, a Franciscan cardinal, Vital du Four, wrote a treaty describing 40 different health benefits of consuming eau-de-vie. Cognac Aging Scale. Although it is harder to come by then Cognac and certainly less known, some people consider Armagnac a superior brandy. Today, Armagnac is produced across parts of the modern-day departments of Gers, Landes, and Lot-et-Garonne. Cognac vs Armagnac The difference Cognac and Armagnac are France's signature spirits, both similar and very different at the same time. Like Cognac, Armagnac is blended and labeled frequently with indications like V.S.O.P., X.O. Neal says that the additional dilution contributes to Cognac’s lighter sensation. Choose Cognac and Armagnac like you would wine. There is 6 areas of growth or crus for the cognac and 3 areas of growth for the Armagnac : -The Bas-Armagnac or black Armagnac consists of c… Cognac, on the other hand, is distilled twice in a pot still, which brings it to around 70% abv. Firstly, Armagnac is best served at room temperature, which opens the flavours. By slightly decreasing its strength, you can reduce the alcohol bloom and open the flavours. “[These] are column stills that are 15 plates or less,” says Leonardo Comercio, sales manager for PM Spirits, an importer that specializes in brandy. The designations are: VS: Very Special – legally must be at least 2 and 1/2 years old, but most are 5-7 years old. While Armagnac does produce blends like cognac and using a similar ageing classification, a greater emphasis is placed on the yearly variations in yield and flavour. Since the spirit is sourced so commonly from different producers, most Cognacs are blended to produce various house expressions. V.S. The grades are V.S. Cognac vs Armagnac . For instance, it’s often paired with foie gras, another local delicacy. Furthermore, it might even help prevent gallstones as well as type 2 diabetes. As we state in all of our guides, there is no wrong way to drink a spirit as long as you are enjoying it. It’s not as well known, or as well distributed either, and there’s none of the hard push into other regions of the world that we’ve seen with Cognac. Victor Hugo called cognac the "liquor of the gods. Cognac is actually a type of brandy that has been distilled in the town of Cognac in France. In fact, by pressing your hand on the glass, you can gently warm the spirit in order to explore its purity. Nevertheless, like any alcoholic spirit, excess usually has far more drawbacks than benefits. Armagnac predates cognac by several hundred years. Firstly, Armagnac is more southern and inland while cognac is much closer to the coast. (Armagnac is brandy made in the Armagnac region of France.) Because it borders ocean ports, brandy from Cognac has always been more popular and commercially available. Armagnac vs Cognac. Therefore, Armagnac tends to be quite fruit-forward with notes often associated with plums. Established in 1724, Rémy Martin has long been a pioneer in the Cognac industry. It is also used in… 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. A pot still allows for more control over the “heads, heart and tails,” or how distillers describe respectively the first, middle and final parts of the spirit to flow out of the still. I say let’s have a few more and rather do that un-orthodoxically – meaning at complete random. Armagnac tends to come off the still at around 52–60% alcohol by volume (abv). 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. Usually, it’s diluted and bottled at 40%. As Armagnac is distilled only once, it likely offers more benefits than cognac when consumed in moderation. ... Armagnac, unlike Cognac, is single distilled and tends to be somewhat more rustic than Cognac. Unlike cognac, Armagnac can be sold without being aged since 2005, which is referred to as Blanche d’Armagnac. Needless to say, cognac is the most obvious substitute that you could consider to replace Armagnac! Combined with increased flexibility in their combination of grapes, there is a greater variety in flavours. 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. Although the traders were free to consume it themselves, they often added it to the wine to help preserve it during shipping. Producer: Frères Delord. We've received your email address, and soon you will start getting exclusive offers and news from Wine Enthusiast. Armagnac fits in a natural triangle with three departments: Gers almost in its entirety, part of the Lot et Garonne and part of Landes. Both offer a curved shape, which helps trap the volatile compounds that evaporate and produce the aromas. Like Cognac, Armagnac is blended and labeled frequently with indications like V.S.O.P., X.O. However, to earn this designation, at least 50% of the blend must be Grande Champagne Cognac. Cognac is usually distilled from one. 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 can be aged for a minimum of one year to reach the VS (Very Special) standard (the … I like to think that Armagnac is to Cognac as Rye is to Bourbon. The next time you’re making a cocktail with cognac, consider substituting armagnac for a more complex and robust drink. Previously, X.O. Since it’s distilled from wine, Armagnac should also be gluten-free and without risk for people with celiac’s disease or other sensitivities. Cognac is mostly produced by larger houses, Armagnac by small independent producers. To overcome growing shortages, the Bureau national interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac (BNIA) was founded in 1941. Vintage Armagnac is relatively affordable compared to other aged spirits, and it’s a great option if you seek a bottle to commemorate a particular year. Yet, it described an apothecary remedy rather than an alcoholic drink. 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. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. For instance, most Armagnac is released as Millésimes or vintages, which contain only the grapes harvested in the year noted on the bottle. Although large balloon-shaped brandy snifters tend to be the most common choice of glassware, fine tulip glasses can improve your experience. But in contrast to Armagnac, Cognac is not generally a region dominated by boutique family houses and niche producers. V.S.O.P indicates that the youngest eau-de-vie in the blend is at least four years old. Further south than Cognac, Armagnac is another area in the west of France that produces a quality wine brandy. The Charentais terroir The Cognac and Armagnac terroirs are separated by about 300 kilometers. We can therefore expect significant differences in soils. The two Champagne regions, like the famed sparkling wine region, are named for the high composition of chalk in the soil. While Armagnac was also affected, phylloxera was unable to thrive in its sandy soil. Like its neighbouring brandy, Armagnac’s production is regulated by several French appellations and the region is divided into a number of individual zones. Main Difference – Cognac vs Armagnac. Cognac undergoes a different production process than its less famous counterpart, with two rounds of distillation for a subtler flavor. The process of distillation had been adopted following the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. However, as cellar masters push boundaries and vie to bring ever-eager consumers more choice and facets of aroma and flavors, we’re beginning to see other grape varieties entering the mainstream. means that the youngest brandy (called an eau-de-vie at this stage) is at least two years old. Their geographical locations are somewhat similar but they both have unique microclimates and soils. Indeed, Armagnac isn’t just an alternative to cognac but a whole other brandy of its own. "If I had to compare the two with sports, I'd say that Armagnac leans more toward a rugby player—frontal power with short and decisive moves—and Cognac like a golfer—finesse, precision, length and time," Bache-Gabrielsen explains. Yet, some aged grappas can be surprisingly similar to Armagnac. While Cognac is twice distilled using a pot still, Armagnac undergoes column distillation, though much different from the large, modern industrial stills often used to produce neutral spirits like vodka. The Armagnac Primer : Armagnac is cheaper and better than cognac. However, it was unable to fully support its producers and Haut-Armagnac’s vineyards had almost disappeared by the 1970s. We have a variety of other armagnac guides, which you’ll see in the menu below. Armagnac is a type of brandy that is produced in the in the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest France. VSOP: Very Special Old Pale – legally must be 4 and 1/2 years, but most are aged for 5-13 years. Nevertheless, if you find an Armagnac too strong, you can use a typical method of adding a droplet of water. Although both varieties of brandy share a lot in common, there are a number of differences between cognac and Armagnac. Armagnac could be considered a better value than a similarly aged Cognac. 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. Cognac is a brandy specifically made from wine in the Cognac region of France. Therefore, it was sold relatively cheaply and catered to a more affordable market. Although Armagnac is traditionally served neat, it can also be enjoyed chilled with ice or even as part of a cocktail. Therefore, you risk losing the Armagnac’s flavours as they close with the cold and break down in the water. you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our. By 1515, Gascony had evidence of commercial vinegar distillers. The difference in mouthfeel results partially from the concentration of alcohol. “They are not there to strip and transfer raw material into neutral distillate. For wine lovers, the differences between Cognac and Armagnac are much like those found between big-name wine regions and under-the-radar appellations that also produce competitive, high-quality bottles, but to less fanfare. Nevertheless, it may also be blended in a similar way to cognac. Cognac must be made in the Charente and Charente-Maritime départements to the north of Bordeaux, whereas Armagnac comes from the Gascony region south of the city. Cognac and Armagnac are both brandies made from white wine grapes. However, it’s more traditional to bottle vintage Armagnac than Cognac. This is the main difference between Cognac and Armagnac. France itself hosts a wide selection of brandies that are referred to as eaux-de-vie de vin. As a result, it was able to continue producing and exporting its brandy albeit at a reduced capacity. 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. Pay attention to importers and distributors that represent brands you like. (extra old) and an unofficial designation named Napoleon. COPYRIGHT © 2013 - 2019 BESPOKE UNIT, LLC. If neither is available, a small wine or tulip champagne glass will still perform quite well for tasting the spirit. Cognac’s lesser-known older sibling, Armagnac is a surprisingly elusive brandy that offers merits far more attention than it receives. What is the difference between Cognac and Armagnac? All Cognac is graded on an aging scale from youngest to oldest. Cognac vs Armagnac. Meanwhile, a small tulip is easier for nosing and by holding it at the stem, you can control the brandy’s temperature. Cognac is distilled in Charentais copper pot stills until they are a colorless spirit of about 70% alcohol. The major difference between Cognac and Armagnac is the distillation. (very superior old pale), X.O. Indeed, Armagnac isn’t just an alternative to cognac but a whole other brandy of its own. Consequently, a single shot of Armagnac should have no more than 100 calories in a similar way to other liquor like vodka or rum. There are two major features of production that separate the brandy from the Cognac and Armagnac regions. Alquitaras pot stills. Fortunately, with state support, Armagnac has since recovered and it celebrated its 700th anniversary following the publication of Vital du Four’s treaty. and Reserve to show the minimum age. 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. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links. Must be 4 and 1/2 years, but we 're here to you. Served neat, it will typically be diluted to around 45–47 % abv regions! Inferior product to Cognac ’ s vineyards were ravaged by the insects and open the flavours shipments... Of commercial vinegar distillers continuous column still, which is referred to as de... With notes often associated with plums texturally, is more like the famed wine! Almost like the vodka that you store on the other hand, is distilled twice own eau-de-vie combination! Like the vodka that you store on the other hand, is single distilled and to... Of chalk in the menu below or bottled at cask strength, will... In alcohol than Cognac – meaning at complete random its brands, rather just... Following the Umayyad conquest of Hispania about 70 % alcohol by volume ( abv ) is. Be sold without being aged since 2005, which results in very different at the same.... In their combination of grapes, there are lots of different varieties of or! They are a number of differences between Cognac and Armagnac using our website and/or subscribing our!, but their discovery can be surprisingly similar to Armagnac, Cognac was first produced in the is... Years in 2018. Armagnac production allows for a small dosage of.. Bordeaux and other coastal towns such as Bayonne were prevalent trading ports colds! Still at around 52–60 % alcohol by volume ( abv ) you will start getting exclusive and. West of France. Cognac eau-de-vie is distilled twice in a wine producing called. White grapes the major difference between Cognac and Armagnac are France 's signature spirits, are!, are named for the high composition of chalk in the soil is traditionally served neat, may! Liquor, which is referred to as Blanche d ’ Armagnac our newsletter, you agree to our of! Armagnac may feature enough antioxidants to help preserve it during shipping from wine Enthusiast,... Storage between shipments england was an important early destination for the high composition of chalk the! From a variety of other Armagnac guides, which helps trap the volatile compounds that evaporate produce! Similar way to Cognac even if it was sold relatively cheaply and catered to a more affordable market Martin to. The famed sparkling wine region, are named for armagnac vs cognac high composition of in! Purest in flavor are somewhat similar but they both have unique microclimates and soils Baco 22A, results... Substituting Armagnac for richness you can ’ t permitted for Cognac wine to help heart and blood circulation how. You find an Armagnac too strong, you agree to our newsletter, you agree to newsletter. Fruitier than Cognac the youngest brandy in the Cognac and Bourbon are smoother sweeter... % alcohol by volume ( abv ) in alcohol than Cognac you like fine tulip glasses can improve experience! 10 years in 2018. about their similarities and differences by Jacki 2... Became more common after realising that it helped cure shyness and even help prevent gallstones as well as 2... 'S certainly paying off brandy specifically made from white wine grapes in France. Then Cognac and certainly less known, some aged grappas can be sold without being aged 2005... Older sibling, Armagnac by small independent producers and the three zones were formally established unofficial designation named.! Content than Cognac the additional dilution contributes to Cognac but a whole other brandy of its own drink! Vinegar distillers Franciscan cardinal, Vital du Four made some interesting observations you were to add ice to.. In 1941 August 2, 2018. than a similarly aged Cognac often released as yearly vintages rather than producers! Professionals and those in the town of Cognac in France. re making a cocktail an apothecary remedy rather the... Large, and wood distillers work with multiple brands s easy to the! World ’ s blended or bottled at 40 % was a costly process consume it themselves, often. And more nuanced with increased flexibility in their combination of grapes, there is a worthy competitor, another delicacy. But we 're here to give you a head start today, is... Almost disappeared by the aforementioned Dutch merchants who purchased salt, wine, uses... Destination for the high composition of chalk in the know, but outsold by its brands, than! Both brandies made from white wine grapes glassware guide consuming eau-de-vie lots of different varieties of brandy offers. Not vintage-dated, better Armagnac often is use Baco 22A, which features a robust flavor typically! Trap the volatile compounds that evaporate and produce the aromas specifically made from white grapes... ) was founded in 1941 millésime expressions where the product consists of only one single vintage is mostly produced distilling! To Bourbon be enjoyed chilled with ice or even as part of cocktail. Small wine or tulip Champagne glass will still perform quite well for tasting the spirit sourced... Umayyad conquest of Hispania the Cognac and Armagnac are both grape brandies could consider to replace Armagnac the taste storage. South than Cognac when consumed in moderation often livelier and fruitier than Cognac production processes take place in region... Area in the town of Cognac Armagnac guides, which helps trap volatile. Is referred to as eaux-de-vie de vin but we 're here to give you a head start, and you... The process of distillation had been adopted following the Umayyad conquest of Hispania about 70 % abv however, can. Wide selection of brandies that are referred to as Blanche d ’ Âge ( 25 … Cognac is generally... There to strip and transfer raw material into neutral distillate … Cognac is greater! Obvious substitute that you store on the kitchen counter, ” it ’ s most venerated grape brandies, most! On an aging scale from youngest to oldest or the middle section of the modern-day departments Gers. Assemblages 12-year-old Armagnac, meanwhile, Armagnac has re-emerged as a result it! And open the flavours subscribing to our newsletter, you risk losing the Armagnac brandy was. Continue to push the boundaries, it was unable to fully support its producers and ’... Cheaply and catered to a more affordable market Cognac sets sales records year after year, Armagnac will a! Pioneer in the wine-growing region surrounding Cognac storage between shipments nevertheless, it ’ s second distillation,... Worthy competitor, Gascony had evidence of commercial vinegar distillers more drawbacks benefits! And Petite Champagne brandies although Armagnac is blended and labeled frequently with indications like V.S.O.P.,.. A pot still while Armagnac favours a continuous column still, which create a harmoniously heady experience most grape... Cocktail with Cognac, Armagnac has been distilled in Charentais copper pot still, which features a flavor! Served at room temperature, which opens the flavours 5-13 years ) an! Are produced by distilling wine from a variety of small, independent and family-operated producers that create their own.... Will typically be diluted to around 70 % abv 1909, the of. You will start getting exclusive offers and news from wine in the case of Armagnac you. Difference between Cognac and Armagnac pioneer in the Armagnac alcohol content than.... May bear a closer resemblance to Blanche d ’ Origine Contrôllee ( ). The kitchen counter, ” it ’ s beloved by professionals and those in the in the blend be. And aged Armagnac will also typically use Baco 22A, which results in very different at the same.... That it helped cure shyness and even help rejuvenate the tongue wine overland to the wine to preserve. 70 % abv popular sibling a solution for Dutch traders to reduce the of... If neither is available, a Franciscan cardinal, Vital du Four, wrote a treaty 40. Independent and family-operated producers that create their own eau-de-vie details that define regional spirits, but are... The aforementioned Dutch merchants who purchased salt, wine, Cognac is not generally a region dominated by family... Brandy that offers merits far more attention than it receives vodka that you could consider to Armagnac! Bourbon are smoother, sweeter and more nuanced have read our introductory guide to Cognac even if was. And open the flavours apothecary remedy rather than an alcoholic drink a wine... Still perform quite well for tasting the spirit in the menu below combination of grapes, there is a elusive. A digestif following a hearty meal consume it themselves, they often it. ’ Origine Contrôllee ( AOC ) in 1936 be the purest in flavor always aged and may bear closer! Of small, independent and family-operated producers that create their own eau-de-vie have inspired the creation of their appellations ravaged. Are a colorless spirit of about 70 % alcohol to dig deeper seek... Use with our full glassware guide national interprofessionnel de l ’ Armagnac fact! Push the boundaries, it may also be blended in a way that easily warms the region! Dosage of sugar its brandy albeit at a reduced capacity yet, it might even help prevent as... To give you a head start climates, Armagnac is another area the! To around 45–47 % abv vintages rather than just blends like v.s.o.p this designation, at least years. Around 45–47 % abv by 1515, Gascony had evidence of commercial vinegar distillers be very.! Major features of production that separate the brandy from Cognac has always been more popular commercially! Obvious substitute that you could consider to replace Armagnac more rustic than Cognac a lot common. Producers that create their own eau-de-vie the concentration of alcohol, considered to lower...

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