Cognac ( KON-yak, also US: KOHN-, KAWN-, French: [kɔɲak] (listen)) is a variety of brandy named after the town of Cognac, France. It is produced in the surrounding wine-growing region in the departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime.
Cognac production falls under French appellation d’origine contrôlée designation, with production methods and naming required to meet certain legal requirements. Among the specified grapes, Ugni blanc, known locally as Saint-Emilion, is most widely used. The brandy must be twice distilled in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in French oak barrels from Limousin or Tronçais. Cognac matures in the same way as whiskies and wines barrel age, and most cognacs spend considerably longer “on the wood” than the minimum legal requirement.
Grappa is an alcoholic beverage: a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin that contains 35 to 60 percent alcohol by volume (70 to 120 US proof).
The flavour of grappa, like that of wine, depends on the type and quality of the grapes used, as well as the specifics of the distillation process. Grappa is made by distilling the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems (i.e., the pomace) left over from winemaking after pressing the grapes. It was originally made to prevent waste by using these leftovers. A similar drink, known as acquavite d’uva, is made by distilling whole must.
Grappa is now a protected name in the European Union. To be called grappa, the following criteria must be met:
Produced in Italy, or in the Italian part of Switzerland, or in San Marino
Produced from pomace
Fermentation and distillation must occur on the pomace—no added waterCriterion 2 rules out the direct fermentation of pure grape juice, which is the method used to produce brandy.
Criterion 3 has two important implications. First, the distillation must occur on solids. Thus, it is carried out not with a direct flame but with a bain-marie or steam distillation; otherwise, the pomace may burn. Second, the woody parts of the grapes (the stems and seeds) are co-fermented with the sugar-rich juice; this produces a very small amount of methanol, which is much more toxic than ethanol. Unlike in the similar process of making red wine, in grappa the methanol must be carefully removed during distillation. That is why there is an Italian law requiring winemakers to sell their pomace to grappa makers; this is a measure that was taken against moonshine operations, which are now very rare in Italy.
Use of the word grappa for product distilled in the United States is still allowed and falls under the Class definition of brandy further classified type as pomace, specifically grappa or grappa brandy.In Italy, grappa is primarily served as a digestivo or after-dinner drink. Its main purpose is to aid in the digestion of heavy meals. Grappa may also be added to espresso coffee to create a caffè corretto, meaning “corrected” coffee. Another variation of this is the ammazzacaffè (“coffee-killer”): the espresso is drunk first, followed by a few ounces of grappa served in its own glass. In Veneto, there is resentin (“little rinser”): after finishing a cup of espresso with sugar, a few drops of grappa are poured into the nearly empty cup, swirled, and drunk down in one sip.
Among the notable producers of grappa are Jacopo Poli, Nardini, and Nonino. These grappas are produced in significant quantities and are exported; there are also many small local or regional grappas.
Most grappa is clear, indicating it is an unaged distillate, though some may retain very faint pigments from their original fruit pomace. Lately, aged grappas have become more common, and these take on a yellow or red-brown hue from the barrels in which they are stored.
Grappa is also well known in South America, particularly in Uruguay and Argentina, due to the significant Italian immigration in those countries. It is served as in Italy, after the main meals. In Uruguay, a local version called grappamiel has also been created, which sees honey added to the traditional grappa. It is widely served and mostly drunk in winter because it “warms” the throat.
A brandy distilled from white wine in the region around Cognac in France.
“Major manufacturers add a small proportion of caramel to color their cognacs.”
An Italian grape-based spirit of between 80 and 100 proof, made from the distillation of pomace.
A variety or serving of grappa.
a high-quality brandy, strictly speaking that distilled in Cognac in western France
“we went to a bar and had some cognac”
“a good range of cognacs”
a brandy distilled from the fermented residue of grapes after they have been pressed in winemaking.