Cognac Frapin dinner at Social Wine and Tapas
Like port, sherry or Madeira, Cognac is a production-method drink that warrants a larger audience.
Oak-aged like whisky, it has a grape-based complexity, starting life as a sharp wine made (generally) from Ugni Blanc before two distillations and at least two years' aging in oak.
Lesser soils or dryer cellars result in a less-substantial spirit.
Quality standards set a minimum age for the youngest spirit in the blend and are, in increasing order, VS, VSOP and XO.
A note on tasting: serve at room temperature in a straight-sided
glass and swirl only very gently. Nosing just above the glass, to the
side and the centre will highlight the varying aromas in the spirit.
VSOP aromatic roasted spices and woody aromas; viscose with harmonious freshness and florality. Very Good.
Frozen VSOP the oiliness and vanilla notes dominate when chillled. Good for a summer's day.
VSOP matches with salty and creamy foods, and worked well with ham and cheese croquetas, jamon iberico, oil and bread and hard yellow cheese.
Further ageing into an XO gives it earthier, woodier aromas that match with mushrooms and game.
XO Fontpinot aged in a drier cellar, essentially the same wine at birth, it matures into a more delicate, slender and mineral finished product. Like the daughter who went to a Swiss finishing school instead of somewhere in the north of England. Very Good.
Millesime 1991 vintage Cognac is a rare beast; this 20yo has a willowy, slender elegance, like it hung out with royalty at Uni then came back home and wowed us all.
Sophisticated and complex, yet assured, graceful and elegant. Very Good.
Frapin One Cocktail an harmonious blend of Frapin with orange peel, chocolate bitters and elderflower.
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