Passion de France

Le vin des Charentes

 

 

The vineyards of the Charente is a production area. The production of this basin is divided as follows:
 
  • 850,000 hls used to produce Cognac
  • 150,000 hls are for the development of Pineau des Charentes
  • 125,000 pmThe Wine Country (Vin de Pays des Charentes)
  • 400,000 to 2,000,000 hectoliters of table wine
  • 800 000 hectoliters of grape juice
Cognac (www.cognac.fr) and Pineau (www.pineau.fr) have their own inter.
 


Le Cognac

 

 

Cognac is obtained by the distillation of white wines harvested in the area Appellation d'Origine. These wines have a high acidity and little alcohol.
 
Cognac is made of white wine Charentes. It is mainly Ugni Blanc (Folle Blanche and Colombard). This late maturing variety with good resistance to oppose the "gray mold" and gives a wine with two essential elements: a high acidity level and, in general, a low alcohol content. Since the phylloxera crisis of the late nineteenth century, all the varieties used are grafted on different rootstocks selected based on soil types.
 
The pressing of grapes is done immediately after harvesting in traditional presses horizontal shelf or in pneumatic presses. Continuous press Archimedes screw is prohibited. The resulting juice is fermented immediately. Chaptalisation (adding sugar) is prohibited. Pressing and fermentation are being carefully monitored because they will have a decisive influence on the final quality of the eau-de-vie.
 
The wine obtained after fermentation for about three weeks headlined around 9% vol. Acids and low in alcohol, they are quite suitable for distillation, which necessarily must be completed no later than 31 March following.

Distillation of Cognac

 

It takes place in two stages:
  • 1st step: obtaining first distillate called "low wines" which as about 28 to 32% volume.
  • 2nd time: brouillis boiler is set for a second distillation is called "good hot".

Aging

 

The long maturation Cognac work, which sometimes lasts for decades, is done through the porosity of the wood allows indirect contact between the water spirits and the ambient air.
Thus, substances extracted from oak wood by altering the physical Cognac Cognac giving it a color ranging from golden yellow to fiery brown.
The transfer characteristics of natural oak causes, over time, the formation of "rancio" and develops the bouquet of Cognac.
 
Aging, essential operation for an eau-de-vie Cognac becomes marketable, is made in barrels from 270 to 450 liters.
The natural humidity of the cellars in which the barrels are stored, with its influence on evaporation, one of the determinants of maturation. When there is a balance between moisture and drought, water spirits becomes mellow and ages harmoniously. The evolution of aging includes three main phases: extraction, hydrolysis, and oxidation:
 
  • Extraction: eau-de-vie new, stored in new barrels, solubilizes extractable wood and acquires a golden yellow color. A portion of the volatile components is eliminated ... The eaux-de-vie undergo an evolution in terms of hue (gradual transition from colorless to yellow highlighted) and in terms of flavor and bouquet (smell of oak with a hint of vanilla).
  • Hydrolysis: This is a transitional phase that precedes an important evolution of organoleptic characteristics. Eau-de-vie is about to "digest wood." Its color tends to darken.
  • Oxidation: The taste is milder, the steamed oak disappears in favor of floral aromas and hints of vanilla, the color deepens. Over the years, the eau-de-vie becomes softer, the bouquet grows, there is the appearance of "rancio".
It is in a dark cellar, usually kept away from other wineries that stay eaux-de-vie older.
After reaching maturity, the Cellar Master decides to end their aging and proceeds to transfer in very old oak barrels and then in bottles of glass called "Ladies-Jeanne" where they can stay in the airtight for many decades without further change.
 
Throughout the time in casks, Cognac is the best oak to reveal the most exquisite flavors it goes, being in constant contact with the air, and gradually loses its strength without excess alcohol and volume .
 
This natural evaporation is poetically called the "Angel's Share". It is the equivalent of more than twenty million bottles per year, which vanish in nature: a very heavy price that producers do not hesitate to pay for an elaboration synonymous with perfection.
 
These alcohol vapor feed a fungus, "torula compniacensis" which covers, and blackens the stones of the region, giving them their characteristic color.

The assembly

 

All Cognacs are not alike. In fact, each Master Chai tent by a subtle alliance of different flavors to create a product that can attract many fans.
 
The Winemaker buys eaux-de-vie and follows since leaving the still. It is he who monitors their maturation, tastes regularly, decided to change the barrel cellar or to make softer or more dry very slowly add distilled water or demineralized water spirits to slowly bring the desired volume of cognac sold alcoholic (40% by volume). This delicate operation is called "downsizing."
 
This work, the fruit of experience, allows each Cognac control the quality of its product. It is indeed by making connections between eaux-de-vie of different ages and different wines that the cellar master creates, like a painter or a musician, a true harmony. A work of craftsmanship that will allow each consumer to recognize and appreciate the Cognac of choice.
 


 

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