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Twil's regional suggestions for Armagnac et Cognac
Cognac and Armagnac are traditional brandies from two different geographical areas. They have established themselves over centuries, in France and worldwide, as bywords in French savoir-faire and fine winemaking. The Cognac vineyard is located near Charente's Atlantic coast, to the north of the Aquitaine Basin. The Armagnac region encompasses a part of Gascony between Garonne, Pyrenees and Landes. Although the two regions are not adjacent, they have similar climates, both under the contrasting influences of the ocean to the west and the continent to the east. The vines therefore benefit from mild weather almost all year round and from moderate rainfall, both of which encourage the grapes to mature slowly and evenly. The regions' sedimentary soil, however, is highly variable: mainly clay-limestone in Cognac, in Armagnac it can be composed of marl, sand or boulbene (a mixture of clay and sand). While each of these types of soil can have an influence on aroma, the cornerstones of fine brandy are the science of distllation, the winery owners' skill, and the maturing conditions. The white grapes should produce wines that are acidic and not too alcoholic (Ugni blanc and Baco 22A are the commonest grape varieties), which then undergo lengthy distillation in an alembic still before being carefully aged in oak casks. Rounded, sweet, light, fine or powerful, with floral or fruity aromas, and always of a magical amber colour, Cognacs and Armagnacs offer a palette of aromas and sensations that match their reputation.
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