The Rancio Charentais – what does this Cognac term mean?

What is Rancio? Rancio is actually a word which comes from Portugal, used to describe characteristics of port wine during the maturing process. The Rancio Charantais is used to describe Cognac and appears after roughly 10 years of ageing in oak casks. It’s the gouleyante note of Cognac ageing in oak barrels, influencing the aroma, becoming more intense over the years.

There are four stages of rancio:

Rancio Charentais (pic Kelt)

First Rancio stage: 10 to 15 years
Peak of vanilla and oak taste, Flowery, dried rose, nutty, spicy

Second Rancio stage: 17 to 22 years
Jasmine, Chocolate, Dried, candied fruit, curry, saffron, ginger
Third Rancio stage: 30 to 40 years
old tawny port, cedar, eucalyptus, cigar box, tobacco, old muscat wine, nutmeg

Fourth Rancio stage: 50 to 60 years
tropical fruits, passion, lyche wood scents: sandal wood

Still, the concept of rancio is a complicated one: Even Cognac producers struggle when it comes to explaining the term. It is nearly impossible to describe. Is it Nutty? Cheesy? At least it is to be spotted on the tongue and finishes with a, let’s say, walnutlike oil-iness. It is very special – a bit bitter, like nut. Some people compare the taste of Rancio to musrooms, earthy and hints of soy sauce.

Further definition: The word is also used to describe a certain flavor found in brown, wood-aged and heated fortified wines, for example the Madeira.

Comment (1)

  1. Domaine de Birius (Elodie) September 15, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I treasure this flavor, symbol of uniqueness, rarity and complexity.
    Rancio is the smell of the time. <3

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