Wine Types

Cognac Brandy Wine Information



One of the most famous brandies is Cognac, the brandy produced in the Cognac area of France - just north of Bordeaux. Cognacs are created with white wine. There are six areas of Cognac - the best two are named Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne. Note that these have nothing to do with Champagne, France, creator of some fantastic bubblies - they both just happen to have chalky soil. The remaining four areas are Fins Bois, Borderies, Bons Bois and Bois.

Cognac is made mostly with Ugni Blanc, although small amounts of Folle Blanche and Colombard are also used. Cognac, and many brandies, are rated by age. The ratings are:
  • AC: two year old spirits, aged in wood.
  • VS: three year old spirits, in wood, often called 'three star'.
  • VSOP: Five year old spirits, in wood, called 'five star'. The initials stand for 'Very Special Old Pale'.
  • XO: Six year old spirits. Every brandy maker has its own special name for this level - 'reserve', 'extra', 'paradis', and so on.


Brandies are typically drunk after a meal, at around 70F. They go well with nut and apple desserts, or on their own. It should be served in a thin glass, which should be held by the stem - not the bowl. Warming the glass causes the alcohol to evaporate too quickly, drowning out the fruit aromas.


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