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Produced in the areas immediately surrounding the tiny town of Cognac, France, Cognac is a form of brandy. Cognac production is strictly regulated. The guidelines insist that a Cognac should age in French-oak barrels for at least two years, being distilled in copper pot stills. At least 90% of the grapes in a Cognacmust be Ugni Blanc, also called Trebbiano, Colombard, and Follie Blanche, while the remaining 10% can be culled from six other grape varietals. Among the most well known of those six is Sémillon.
Some of the most famous producers are Hennessey, Rémy Martin, and Courvoisier. There are four quality grades for Cognac: V.S. (stored for two or more years in cask), V.S.O.P. (stored at least four years), XO (also called Napoléon, seven to 10 years) and hors d’age (exceeds the three grades and indicates the highest quality).