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.

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The Rancio Charentais - what does this Cognac term mean?

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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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