History of Cognac

Cognac might have made a name for itself with its wine and salt trading while the Cognacais, proud of their nickname: 'cagouillard' (snail ), enjoyed a slow pace of life, had it not been for the river Charente, dubbed 'my kingdom's nicest' by King Henry the IVth.

This river, particularly navigable, gave Cognac easy access to the nearby Atlantic ocean, in South Western France, not far from Bordeaux. A climate and soil most appropriate to vine growing, combined with a solid intuition for trade, and a love of perfection did the rest.

Merchants, mostly English and Dutch, began to distill the wines in order to avoid the long boat trips spoiling their quality. The Dutch turned it into 'Brandewijn', or burned wine. This would become the forerunner of 'Brandy'.

During the XVIIth century, the Cognacais initiated the process of double distillation, allowing the concentrated alcohol, the 'water of life' known as 'eau-de-vie', to travel in the safest and most economical conditions. This alcohol, stored in oak barrels, was to be diluted upon arrival. It is purely by chance that they realized that these eaux-de-vie improved with time and contact with the oak wood. They began to drink it as such. Soon, it would be named: Cognac.

The Cognac region was then primarily Protestant. The "Edict of Nantes" was their guarantee of "freedom of faith and worship, and safe heaven". When King Louis the XIVth, the Sun King, cancelled the edict, it forced many Protestant families to leave. They established themselves in England, Ireland or Holland and some began to import the eaux-de-vie produced by their relatives in the region. A strong export network thus began to spread.

The XVIIIth century saw the first exports to Holland, England, North America and the Far East. Trading Houses created in the XIXth century began to ship their products in bottles and no longer in casks. This was the start of yet another economic cycle, leading to the creation of factories producing bottles, boxes, corks and labels. Cognac was fast becoming a major trade and export centre. At the end of the XIXth century a major crisis hit the region, with the onset of the infamous phylloxera, a fungus that spread throughout the vineyards, destroying them. In 1888, a French scientist traveled to Dennison, Texas, where he found the long term cure to phylloxera. The Cognac merchants led the way in replanting, partly from American vines, while helping growers with plants, fertilizers and advice...

Little by little, the vineyards were entirely replanted, and became France's largest for white wine. This left the Charentais with new battles to fight, such as opening new markets throughout the world, guaranteeing quality, maintaining the region's global economy and protecting against Cognac's imitators.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the cure of phylloxera in 1988, Dennison, Texas and Cognac, France, became sister cities. Meanwhile, in the historic part of the town of Cognac, the rue 'Saulnier' (salt trader in old French) remains the only witness to the town's original trade.

All Cognacs originate from Cognac- - and its surroundings, in two French departements, which include Segonzac and Jarnac.

Is that obvious, redundant? Maybe so.

However, until 1909 when a decree protecting the delimited area was signed, this was not all that clear. The decree claims that only the spirit made with eaux-de-vie from the protected zone and permitted grapes are entitled to the name Cognac. They must be distilled and aged following specifically authorized techniques, respecting the double distillation process in a copper alembic, and aged in oak barrels for a minimum period of time.

Thus, all Cognac is brandy but not all conac, kognac, or brandy is Cognac.

Not all Cognacs are alike: With a rich clay soil, a softly tempered sea climate, and generous amounts of sunlight, the Charente valley enjoys a climate specifically favorable to cultivating vines. It covers over 200, 000 acres along the Charente river and may be distinguished by six different viticultural areas, or 'crus'.

Enjoying specific climate and soil, each region produces different and complimentary qualities of eaux-de-vie. The areas form a circular belt surrounding Cognac, and the eaux-de-vie loose sharpness and gain in body as they move further from the center.

The blending, or "marriage", of these distinct qualities will confer to each Cognac its individual, unique, character.

Cognac
   
   
   
Comandon Cognac V.S. 750ml $24.95
Courvoisier Cognac V.S. 200ml $6.95
Courvoisier Cognac V.S. 375ml $11.95
Courvoisier Cognac V.S. 750ml $24.95
Courvoisier Cognac V.S.O.P. 50ml $4.95
Courvoisier Cognac V.S.O.P. 200ml $13.95
Courvoisier Cognac V.S.O.P. 375ml $22.95
Courvoisier Cognac V.S.O.P. 750ml $39.95
Courvoisier Cognac X.O. 750ml $139.95
Dartigalongue Armagnac 50 years old $699.95
Larressingle Armagnac V.S.O.P. $49.95
Larressingle Armagnac X.O. $99.95
D'Usse' V.S.O.P Cognac 750ml $59.95
Delamain Cognac Pale & Dry X.O. 750ml $99.95
Delamain Cognac Tres Venerable 750ml $299.95
Delamain Vesper Grande Champagne Cognac 750ml $199.95
Delamain Vintage 1973 Grand Champagne Cognac $799.95
Hennessy Cognac Black 750ml $44.95
Hennessy Cognac Master Blender's Selection no 2 $99.95
Hennessy Cognac Paradis 750ml $999.95
Hennessy Cognac Paradis Imperial 750ml $2999.95
Hennessy Cognac Richard 750ml $3,500.00
Hennessy Cognac V.S. 200ml $12.95
Hennessy Cognac V.S. 375ml $24.95
Hennessy Cognac V.S. 50ml $5.49
Hennessy Cognac V.S. 750ml $39.95
Hennessy Cognac V.S.O.P. 50ml $7.95
Hennessy Cognac V.S.O.P. 750ml $69.95
Hennessy Cognac X.O. 750ml $199.95
Hine V.S.O.P. Cognac 750ml $49.95
Landy Drama Liqueur 750ml $29.95
Landy Cognac V.S.O.P. 750ml $29.95
Landy Cognac X.O. DOG 750ml $299.95
Martell Blue Swift Cognac France 750ml $39.95
Martell VS Cognac France 750ml $34.95
Park Vieille Grande Champagne Cognac 50ml $99.95
Pierre Ferrand Amber 10 Years Old Grande Champagne Cognac 750ml $39.95
Pierre Ferrand Reserve 20 Years Old Grande Champagne Cognac 750ml $69.95
Pierre Ferrand Ancestrale 70 Years Old Grande Champagne Cognac 750ml $899.95
Pierre Ferrand Selection De Anges 30 Years Old Grande Champagne Cognac 750ml $149.95
Remy Martin Cognac 1738 750ml $59.95
Remy Martin Cognac Louis XIII $2,999.95
Remy Martin Cognac V 375ml $24.95
Remy Martin Cognac V.S.O.P $49.95
Remy Martin Cognac X.O. 50ml $9.95
Remy Martin Cognac X.O. 750ml $179.95
Salignac Tres Grande Fine Champagne Reserve Cognac 750ml $199.95

Tesseron X.O. Perfection Cognac Lot no 29 Grande Champagne 1er Cru De Cognac

$699.95
Tsar Alexander I Cognac V.S.O.P. 750ML $14.95
Tsar Alexander I Cognac X.O. 750ml $99.95