From time to time we receive questions by users. This time we received a set of rather complex questions from an Indian reader that studies Bar and beverage management – we thought it would be interesting to share these questions with the readers of our blog.

Question one

A production house in Borderies buys (not cultivates) 100% of its grapes used from say Petite-Champagne and distills and matures (elevages) them in casks their cellars on their premises/estate in Borderies. Can this cognac procuder/bottler add the Appellation Cognac Petite (Fine) Champagne controllee to his label.

Cognac labels

Question two

Is it true that regulations insist that all the eau-de-vie must be matured, blended and bottled (all three?) in cellars within Cognac (any) district only ?

Question three

I got this fact from wikipedia (but is not anywhere else on the wen unless they have repeated extracts from the wiki article)
– Cognac may be made only from a strict list of grape varieties, if it is to carry the name of one of the crus then it must be at least 90% Ugni Blanc (known in Italy as Trebbiano), Folle Blanche and Colombard, although 10% of the grapes used can be Folignan, Jurançon blanc, Meslier St-François (also called Blanc Ramé), Sélect, Montils or Sémillon. Cognacs which are not to carry the name of a cru are freer in the allowed grape varieties, needing at least 90% Colombard, Folle Blanche, Jurançon blanc, Meslier Saint-François, Montils, Sémillon, or Ugni Blanc, and up to 10% Folignan or Sélect.

The bold latter part of the statement is something i have found only on wikipedia, Is it true? I understand that almost Ugni Blanc is used to such a degree that this fact has no practical relevance. Can this be confirmed by you? Is it a BNIC regulation?


Question four

Although Ugni Blanc is by far the grape variety used in Cognac, regulations do permit the use of up to a mix of 10 grape varieties (restricted in proportion) for the production of Cognac. Suppose a production house uses three varieties of grapes, Are the three grapes (in whatever proportions decided by the distiller subject to prescribed regulations, if any) pressed together and the resultant (mixed) juice fermented and then distilled or are the grapes pressed seperately and the juice of each grape fermented, distilled and matured seperately and later blended as per the discretion of the cellar master? Simply put, are the grapes mixed before pressing, after pressing, or at what stage.

Question five

My quesion is Impérial, Hors d’âge, Extra, Vieille Réserve, Vieux, Selection, deLuxe
Which of these are terms recognised by the BNIC or have any standing with them?
I was at their site and only VS, 3 star, VSOP, Napoleon and XO (XO shall be deemed to be Compte 10 from 2016) have been referred to in their indications of age.
Is there a legal aspect about using these names in the way they are supposed to be or are defined to be?
Is it compulsory to use these terms depending upon the age of the youngest eau-de-vie in the blend
Who and how is the use of these terms decided vis a vis age of the youngest cognac in the blend ?
are these for real – Imperial, DeLuxe and Selection
What about Extra Rare and Cordon Blue (from Martell) – are these terms allowed or must the companies stick to the certain terms acknowledged by BNIC and which are these?


Question six (last)

Would this be a possibility on a label “Appellation Cognac Fine Fins Bois Controlle” ?
In other words, i am given to understand that the cru name can appear only if 100% of the grapes are from that cru (it could theoretically be several varieties of allowed grapes right?) . is it compulsory for the words Appellation and Controlle to appear or just the name of the cru. After all, cognac or eau-de-vie de charente has to also be on the label compulsorily right/ Also is the word fine used correctly by me in the above?

thanks a lot and I await these answers and confirmation from the experts.


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Max is a spirits expert and speaker, into marketing, technology, startups, and business development. He’s also a farmer. He likes tools and machines, Game of Thrones, and Better Call Saul. Included in his Top 10 Cognacs are the Audry XO and Bache Gabrielsen 1973.Max founded Cognac Expert in 2010 at his family’s estate in Poullignac, in the Cognac region, France. Started as a blog, today Cognac Expert is the world’s largest website about all things Cognac, a blog, and a specialized online shop featuring 800+ different Cognac bottles.

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    Question 1 : If the house buys grapes from say Petite-Champagne, the Cognac produced can bear the Appellation “Petite (Fine) Champagne”.

    Question 2 : All the eau-de-vie must be matured, blended and aged (not bottled) in cellars within Cognac Area.

    Question 3 : NEW BNIC Regulation (2011). Cognac may be made only from a strict list of grape varieties :
    – colombard B, folle blanche B, montils B, sémillon B, ugni blanc B
    – folignan B (maximum 10%)
    Now, jurançon blanc B, meslier saint-françois B and sélect B are allowed only for vines in place prior 2005 (September the 18th).

    Question 4 : You can do as you want.

    Question 5 : Cognac Qualities and MINIMUM Age
    – Compte 2 : “3 étoiles”, “Sélection”, “De Luxe”, ‘VS”, “Grand Choix”, “Surchoix” and assimilated
    – Compte 3 “Supérieur” and assimilated
    – Compte 4 : “Vieux”, “VO”, “VSOP”, “Réserve” and assimilated
    – Compte 5 : “VVSOP”, “Grande Réserve” and assimilated
    – Compte 6 : “Extra”, “XO”, “Napoléon”, “Royal”, “Très Vieux”, “Vieille Réserve” and assimilated
    It is compulsory to use these terms depending upon the age of the youngest eau-de-vie in the blend.
    To take your example : “Extra Rare” is assimilated to “Extra” and “Cordon Blue” is a brand name (no age indication in the name).

    Question 6 : No possibility of Appellation Cognac “Fine Fins Bois”.
    You can only find «Grande Fine Champagne», «Grande Champagne», «Petite Fine Champagne», «Petite Champagne», «Fine Champagne», «Borderies», «Fins Bois», «Bons Bois», «Bois ordinaires» and «Bois à terroirs».
    It is not compulsory for the words “Appellation” “Contrôlée” to appear. You can find bottles with only the name “Cognac” (and the name of the cru).

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