Ten Keyword Decoding “Heroes” Brandy

Brandy wine barrels in Jerez, Spain, arranged in a pyramid from the largest to the smallest

“This is the elixir of the gods, a drop of water of life. If you can’t help but temptation to get a drop, you will be addicted to life.” The French elixir Hugo said this elixir is cognac.

Cognac, as a synonym for elegance and nobility, has become an irreplaceable treasure in the minds of countless wine lovers at home and abroad. So, where is Cognac? What is the relationship between Cognac and Brandy? Why is brandy so fascinating? We might as well use ten keywords to decode the charm of brandy.

Keywords 1: Fruit
Grapes can be used to make wine or juice, it can also be used to produce brandy. Generally, spirits distilled from grapes can be called brandy. However, unlike whiskey, vodka, and gin, which are all year-round grain spirits, brandy production, like wine, is limited by season.

In addition to grape-based distilled wine called grape brandy, brandy is also made from other fruit materials. But these brandies should be added with fruit names, such as apple brandy, cherry brandy, etc., their popularity is far less than the former.

Keywords 2: Cognac
Brandy can be produced all over the world, but not all brandy can be called “cognac”. The French government stipulates that only brandy produced in the town of Cognac can be called “Cognac”. The law also stipulates that Cognac must be double distilled in a copper distiller and sealed in French oak barrels for 2 years.

Cognac is a small town in southwestern France. It is the most suitable for the growth of good varieties of grapes, whether it is weather or soil, within a range of about 100,000 hectares around it. It can be said that Cognac is the most famous grape-producing region in France, and the grapes produced here can be brewed into the best quality brandy.

The brandy bottle will be marked with VO and VSO to indicate the year of maturity

It is worth mentioning that more than 95% of Cognac is sold outside France, of which China is one of the most important importing and consuming countries. The well-known Cognac brands include Hennessy, Martell, Napoleon and Remy Martin.

Keyword 3: Birthplace
In France, the brandy produced in the Cognac region is the most beautiful, followed by the Yavini region in France. Outside France, other wine-rich countries also produce a certain amount of brandy in different styles.

More than 95% of Cognac is sold outside France, of which China is one of the most important importing and consuming countries.
For example, the brandy produced in Jerez, Spain, is aged using the Solera system. The barrels of the brandy in this place are arranged in the form of pyramids from large to small. To make brandy, the bartenders here take brandy from different barrels and mix them together. Then they fill the barrel with “young” brandy.

As another example, the United States also produces a considerable share of brandy. Generally, American brandy has been aged for two years before bottling. If the aging time is insufficient, the company will be required to label the product as “immature”. Not only that, only brandy based on grapes can be marked as “pure brandy”. If the distiller uses any other fruit, such as apples or peaches, it must be indicated on the bottle label.

Keyword four: combustion
It is said that brandy originated in France. In the 12th century AD, the wines produced by Cognac were sold to various European countries, and foreign merchant ships often came to the port of Charente for purchasing wine.

Around the middle of the 16th century, in order to facilitate the export of wine, reduce the space occupied by shipping cabins and the taxes required for a large number of exports, and to avoid the deterioration of wine caused by long-distance transportation, the wine merchants of Cognac town distilled the wine It is exported after concentration, and then the manufacturers in the importing country are diluted with water and sold in proportion.

This wine made by distilling wine is the early French brandy. At that time, the Dutch called this wine “Brandewijn”, meaning “Burnt Wine”.

Keyword five: oak barrels
In the early 17th century AD, other regions of France had begun to follow the Cognac method of distilling wine. This method gradually spread from France to wine-producing countries throughout Europe and around the world.

In 1701 AD, France was involved in the “Spanish succession war” and the French brandy was also embargoed. The wine merchants had to store the brandy properly to wait for the opportunity. They used oak produced in Cognac town to make oak barrels and stored the brandy in wooden barrels.

At the end of the war in 1704, the wine merchants unexpectedly discovered that the originally colorless brandy turned into a beautiful amber, the wine did not deteriorate, and the aroma was stronger. Therefore, since then, the use of oak barrel aging technology has become an important production process of cognac. This production process quickly spread to all parts of the world.

Keyword 6: China Gene
There is also a saying about the origin of brandy-the earliest invention of brandy in the world should be Chinese-Dr. Joseph Li, a British expert who studies the history of Chinese science, once published an article saying this. The great pharmacist Li Shizhen also wrote in “Compendium of Materia Medica”: There are two kinds of wine, namely grape wine and grape shochu. The so-called “grape shochu” is the earliest brandy.

“Compendium of Materia Medica” also records: Grape shochu is to ferment the grapes and steam it with a retort to express its dew. This method began in Gaochang and spread to the Central Plains after the Tang Dynasty broke Gaochang. Gaochang is Turpan, indicating that in the Tang Dynasty more than 1,000 years ago, my country used grape fermentation to distill brandy.

The Chinese have used steamed white wine and distilled grape shochu for more than 1,000 years. Some western historians believe that China is the first country in the world to invent a still and distilling liquor. Later, this distillation technology spread to the West through the Silk Road.

Keyword seven: how to pick
If you want to know the quality level of brandy, you can refer to the wine label before tasting. Its quality level is directly related to the length of the original wine stored in oak barrels.

Usually, the brandy bottle will be marked with VO and VSO to indicate the aging year. The legal VO/VSO/VSOP should be kept in oak barrels for at least 4 years. The legal XO is stored in oak barrels for at least 6 and a half years.

The longer the storage time, the better the cognac quality and the higher the price. However, there are still many wineries that will cultivate wines that are higher than the minimum vintage, and many wines that do not match the actual vintage. Therefore, the label is for reference only.

Keyword eight: how to drink
Brandy can be drunk in a variety of ways. It can be used as a digestive wine or as an aperitif. It can be mixed with nothing “net drink”, or it can be added with ice, mixed with mineral water or mixed with tea, or even heated.

For brandy with a wonderful fragrance, you can drink it no matter what. Exactly how to drink varies with personal habits and preferences. Generally speaking, different grades of brandy, using different drinking methods, can receive better results.

The earliest invention of brandy in the world should be Chinese.
XO brandy is made in oak barrels after dozens of spring, summer, autumn and winter storage and aging. It can be said to be the treasure and the best in wine. It is best to blend this brandy with nothing, and drink it purely in its original flavor, so that you can appreciate the essence and soul of this art. Some brandy has a short storage life, such as VO brandy or VSO brandy, which is only 3 to 4 years old. If you drink it directly, you will inevitably have the pungent spicy throat of alcohol, and mix it with mineral water or drink it with ice in summer It can not only fully dilute the alcohol concentration, reduce irritation, but also keep the brandy flavor unchanged. This method has been widely adopted.

Drinking brandy is also very particular, to use a special glass-brandy glass. Each time the wine in the glass is only about an ounce. Using your left middle finger and ring finger, hold the tall glass, hold the glass with both hands, and slowly shake it back and forth. Use the temperature of the palm to heat the wine evenly. When the temperature of the wine reaches the surface temperature of the person, the aroma of the wine overflows.

Keyword nine: water of life
The alcohol content of brandy, mostly between 35% and 60%, is an ideal after-dinner wine. The Europeans even praised it without hesitation: “A meal without a brandy is like a spring without the sun.”

Similar to whiskey, brandy was initially used as a medicine, and it is no wonder that brandy has a healing name “water of life”. In fact, brandy does have many health and therapeutic effects, such as helping the digestion of the gastrointestinal tract, relieving cold and warming the body, dissolving blood stasis and detoxification, detoxifying and diuretic. At the same time, it is also an effective vasodilator that can increase the strength of the cardiovascular system.

Keyword ten: the hero’s wine
Cognac is popular not only because of its excellent quality, but also because of Napoleon. Napoleon traversed the field of his life and traveled all over Europe. In every battle, he will bring Cognac to reward the outstanding soldiers. Soon after, the wind of “Cognac” started in Europe, and Cognac was also called “the wine of heroes”.

The famous British writer Samuel Johnson once said: “Those who desire to be heroes must drink brandy.” For ordinary people, let us not become such a super hero who defeats monsters and saves the world. It’s okay to be a hero around others.