Cognac is one of those quintessential French drinks. But what makes cognac so great – and how do you choose the best cognac for you?
Maison Martell is renowned for the finesse and elegance of its cognacs.
This is the result of a legacy of savoir-faire, handed down through nine generations of cellar masters.
When looking for a good cognac, asking ‘How much does cognac cost?’ is not always the question for the answer you need.
What is so special about cognac is that many top cognacs can be relatively inexpensive, if you know what you’re looking for – and we will assist you with that shortly.
First though, let’s quickly revise how cognac is made, and what cognac is made from.
There are six demarcated terroirs in Cognac, of which Borderies, Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, and Fins Bois, are the most sought-after.
Grapes from Borderies in particular produce eaux-de-vie with smooth and luscious aromas.
Borderies has been Martell’s signature cru since its foundation, and defines the Martell style.
After the grapes, distillation.
In the traditional double distillation method, the wines pass through the still twice over, transforming clear wines into eaux-de-vie.
Then comes ageing.
Certain cognac houses, such as Maison Martell, use fine-grained oak barrels crafted from sustainable French forests up to 200 years old.
Finally, the blending.
A cognac is a blend of at least 2 eaux-de-vies, though certain blends contain several hundred. (If interested in developing your cognac appreciation, explore our ‘How to cognac’ video tutorials on this subject as well as our article What is cognac made from?)
The best cognac for you, really depends on you.
A first taste of cognac If you are new to the world of cognac, any VSOP cognac would make for an elegant starting point.
In terms of cognac grades, the VSOP means Very Superior Old Pale, and signifies the eaux-de-vie are aged for at least four years (compared to a VS, in which eaux-de-vie are aged at least two years).
But sometimes you want to go that little bit extra.
An extra old cognac is a blend of eaux-de-vie aged for at least 10 years.
The best extra old cognacs, among the smoothest cognacs, are true objects of beauty to be cherished and savoured.
Maison Martell has two excellent contenders for cognacs that sit atop of the range.
Let’s start with Martell Cordon Bleu. Created in 1912, this luscious and elegant cognac, a masterful blend of more than 100 eaux-de-vie, has been an icon ever since.
No surprise this cognac was served on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary, the world’s most luxurious transatlantic liner, and on the inaugural Concorde flight between Paris and New York.
On the other hand, Martell XO is the House’s signature interpretation of the prestigious Grande Champagne terroir, instantly identifiable for its intense taste and bold, contemporary design.
In a separate category of cognac altogether, for an unprecedented combination of richness and complexity go no further than Martell Chanteloup XXO, a blend of 450 very old eaux-de-vie.
Sometimes, what defines an exceptional cognac though, is simply the cognac itself.
And L’Or de Jean Martell is indeed an exceptional cognac.
L’Or de Jean Martell expresses the myriad nuances of over 700 rare and precious eaux-de-vie, some aged for more than a century in the famous Jean Martell cellar.
Martell VSOP is subtle, elegant, and balanced, and an authentic expression of the Martell style. Or try Martell Noblige. Unusually complex for a VSOP, Martell Noblige blends more than 100 eaux-de-vie from the finest terroirs in the Cognac region.
Explore the collection of Maison Martell cognacs.
Cognac heralds from only a small corner of southwestern France; yet when looking to buy a bottle as a gift or other occasion, the choice can be overwhelmingly large.
The fact each has its own distinct personality is what makes a bottle of cognac such a unique gift idea.
For those flummoxed by choice, or in a hurry to decide, don’t fret: Maison Martell has a practical tool to find the best cognac for you.
Martell’s Gift Finder quiz simplifies the decision-making process into four essential questions. At the end of the 30-second survey a bottle is suggested based on your preferences, chosen from within the extensive Martell range.
The first question to answer is ‘for who’. Is it for you, or as a gift to impress a friend? Perhaps it’s a luxury birthday gift, or a unique present for someone who has everything.
Second, choose your cognac price range. There are good cognacs for every budget, and the most expensive cognac may not be the most suited to your occasion.
The next factor is the type of person you are buying for. There are timeless cognacs for fans of the classics, cognacs for connoisseurs, and even adventurous bottles for brave explorers.
Finally, choose the occasion. It might be Mothers Day, Fathers Day, or a regular day of the week. Cognacs can be enjoyed alone or with friends, in degustation with a delicious meal, or with a simple chocolate square.
Cognac’s beauty is that it can always be enjoyed your way. With Martell’s Gift Finder, finding that way has never been easier.
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