The French like to take credit for many of the finer things in life: haute cuisine, Champagne, and the like. Cognac is no exception. The specialty brandy that is named for the town of Cognac in France is famous for being top of the line. This video details how dedication, not location, is responsible for the renowned spirit.
"The variables, they start with how you manage your vineyard, explains Renaud Fillioux, a tasting committee member at Hennessy, one of France's leading Cognac producers. "Everybody needs to bring an expertise around the Cognac-making process."
Creating fine Cognac requires individuals with specific knowledge in a variety of areas: distilling wine, making barrels, aging, and blending the final product together. At Hennessy, the company's experts claim to taste 10,000 samples every year. While it's easy to be romantic about the beverage and its provenance, it exists thanks to skilled, knowledgable individuals working hard.
"Anywhere you go in the world, when you open a bottle of Hennessy VSOP, you will find the same balance, the same harmony," Fillioux says. "You don't do that by chance. It's not magic."