let us talk cognac. what is cognac? it is a type of brandy produced in the charente region of south west france. grape juice is distilled twice in copper stills and then aged for a minimum 2 years in oak barrels, which gives it its distinctive taste.
there are various grades of cognac:
v.s. (very special), the youngest blend, aged for at least 2 years in a cask
v.s.o.p (very superior old pale), aged for at least 4 years in a cask
napoleon, designates a blend which has been aged for at least 6 years.
xo (extra old), aged for a minimum 10 years
xxo (extra extra old), given to a blend aged for a minimum 14 years
there are numerous cognac houses dotted in and around the cognac region, and most offer tours and tasting sessions, and a chance to purchase their produce. all are within a 40minute drive of les hirondelles.
maison gautier, an award winning cognac house situated in aigre, a mere 5 minute drive from here, has recently opened its doors to the public, offering tours and tasting. an opportunity not to be missed.
further afield, in the centre of cognac itself is château royal de cognac, maison baron otard, one of our personal favourites.