Brandy and Cognac

Brandy and Cognac are spirits differentiated by their geographic designations. Cognac, named after the town Cognac in France, can only be made in the region. Brandy can be produced in many parts of the world, notably from South Africa, Spain and now the Californians are having a go at making it in the States. Cognac is made from at least 90 percent Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, or Colombard grapes. The rest of the cognac can consist of ten selected grapes, but most is made only from Ugni Blanc. Cognac is distilled twice in copper pot stills, and aged for at least two and a half years in oak barrels. Brandies can be made with other fruits, but most often it is made with white grape varieties such as Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Folle Blanche. These are used as they ripen slowly, making a high-acid, low-alcohol wine. Brandy and Cognac can be enjoyed as small portions after dinner, before bed time, or to keep you warm in the cool winter months. The French call these drinks ‘eaux-de-vie’, which means ‘the waters of life’. Whether or not they really are an essential element for living, they still go down very nicely in slow sips.