The Guillon-Painturaud family owns 18 hectares of Ugni Blanc located in one plot around the farm they have been living in since 1610. In the 1970s, they began bottling under their own name rather than selling to the big house producers, and they have never looked back. Passing the distillation education from generation to generation, the family business is currently run by an energetic young woman named Line Guillon Painturaud, who has brought forth some fantastic brandies. The VSOP is an average of 15 years old and is brimming with supple fruit and caramel. Paul Pacult's Spirits Journal gave it 4 stars and the Wine Enthusiast named it the Best Bargain Brandy of 2009.
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Cognac is a type of brandy that takes its name from the Cognac region of France. Made from twice-distilled white wine, Cognac is distilled in copper pots and aged in wooden barrels. The production techniques of Cognac are very specific, requiring a particular type of grapes, distillation practices and aging requirements.
Hennessy is a Cognac that is made in France but was started by an Irishman. Despite the common belief that Hennessy is a type of whiskey, it is made from grapes — grapes that have been twice-distilled and aged. The only notable similarity it bears to whiskey is that both are aged in oak barrels.
Cognac consumed as an appetizer is usually served neat. It’s also common practice to add a little bit of water, which makes the drink fruitier and more floral. Some water can also help to bring out the subtle spiciness of Cognac while also making it a bit smoother to drink.