Brandy is a class of spirits distilled from grape wine, grape pomace and the fermented mash of other fruits. Most brandies made from grapes and apples are aged in barrels, while pomace and fruit brandies are clear, un-aged spirits. The most famous of the pomace brandies are Italy's Grappa and France's Marc, while the most familiar grape brandies are Cognac, Armagnac, Brandy de Jerez, and Pisco (un-aged).
The primary grape used to make Cognac is Ugni Blanc, an acidic white grape that produces a low-alcohol wine well-suited for distillation. The wine is distilled twice in a Charentais pot still, emerging as a clear, colorless eau-de-vie. It’s aged in small oak barrels for 6 to 12 months, where it begins to absorb the flavors and color from the oak, and then into older barrels to continue aging.
During aging, the alcohol level is ultimately reduced to around 40% for bottling. Aging and blending determine the “house style” for Cognac producers and remain consistent year after year.
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