What type of grape is preferred by producers to make spirits?
Producers usually use highly acidic, white grapes that do not have a lot of aromas (these don't make interesting wines) distillation concentrates the delicate floral/fruity aromas
What type of brandy is made from highly aromatic grapes in South America?
How are grapes processed to be ready for distillation?
Grapes are crushed and pressed, seeds and skins discarded, the juice then ferments immediately into wine, the wine is stored and then distilled within a few months.
Pomace is the mass of discarded grape skins-used to make pomace brandy (skins give brandy herbaceous and spicy aromas).
Why would some fruits be processed by maceration?
It is difficult to get enough juice out of some fruits, or maceration avoids the aromas created during fermentation (high-quality flavored vodkas could be considered an example of this).
What type of stills are high quality fruit spirits made in?
Why is blending important when producing oak matured brandies?
To create consistent and complex brandies, producers must use the qualities of different grape varieties, regions and choices made during maturation (options may be limited by local laws).
What type of brandy is typically rested in inert vessels for a short time?
Pomace Brandies and other fruit spirits (aside from apple)
What country and regions are home to three of the most important fruit spirits?
- Cognac -grape brandy
- Armagnac - grape brandy
- Calvados - apple and pear brandy
Where must Cognac grapes be grown?
Grapes must be grown in specific area north of Bordeaux in south-west France.
The sub-region considered the best for grape growing is around the town of Cognac
Where must grapes grown for Armagnac brandy come from?
They must come from a region south of Bordeaux. Ugni Blanc grapes are also commonly used, but a wider range of varieties (Baco and Folle Blanche) are permitted.
What are the two major differences between Cognac and Armagnac?
- Vintage dated products much more common in Armagnac (made from grapes harvest in the same year and not blended spirits of different ages)
- Distillers in Armagnac can sell Blanche (unaged spirit produced the same way as other Armagnacs but not matured in oak)
Where is Calvados made?
Calvados is made in specific parts of Normandy.
What is Grappa?
Grappa is a pomace brandy made in Italy from aromatic grape varieties such as Moscato, matured in inert vessels a one year or more, producing a fuller mouth feel and smooth texture.
What is a grape brandy from Chile and Peru that is pot stilled and made from highly aromatic grapes (Moscato), and usually unaged (in Peru this is a legal requirement)?
What grape variety are Cognacs typically made from?
These brandies have a signature aroma of raisins and violets.
What are the regulations for distilling Cognac?
- Must be double distilled in copper pot stills
- Must be directly heated with flames
- Must use a worm tub condenser
How long must Cognacs be aged?
Minimum of 2 years in oak
How is Calvados produced?
Calvados is produced from apples and pears. Pot and short column stills are used. They are typically aged in large oak vessels which do not give off as much flavor as barrels.
What are the four big companies are the main producers of Cognac?
- Remy Martin
What are the age indications on Cognac and what do they mean?
The age indications refer the minimum age of the youngest spirit in the blend.
- VS - 2 years, fruit and oak aromas, sharp textures
- VSOP - 4 years, fuller and richer flavors
- XO - 6 years, aromas or raisins, oak, floral and rancio with a smooth mouth feel
What are the three sub-regions of Cognac that are most likely to appear on a label ?
- Grande Champagne
- Petit Champagne
100% of the grapes used to make that Cognac must be from that region.
What is the term on labels to indicate a small individual producer?
What does a vintaged dated spirit indicate?
They are made from grapes harvested in the same year.
This is common in Armagnac.
What are the two sub-regions in Armagnac?
Bas Armagnac and Tenareze
What is Blanche Armagnac?
An armagnac that is not aged in oak.
Folle Blanche is the grape variety commonly used in Blanche Armagnac.