Question about Remy Martin Champagne Cognac.
- FoodChic Dec 14, 2008 04:30 PM
We have a bottle of Question about Remy Martin Fine Champagne Cognac VSOP that we've had for at least 13 years... and it's still unopened. It has no date on the bottle anywhere to tell me it's real age. Does anyone know if it is still drinkable?
Cognac does not age in the bottle, so however old it was at the time of bottling (and VSOP indicates at least four years) it is still that age for aging purposes.
If your only concern is whether it is still good, an unopened bottle of Cognac can stay good for much longer than 13 years. I would think it should be fine. The things to look for that would be a matter of concern, would be leakage through the seal or excessive evaporation (i.e. low bottle fill). If you don't see that, I would guess it's fine.
Unlike wine, distilled spirits do not age in the bottle. Thus, while a bottle of, say, two bottles of Chateau Cache Phloe Chardonnay -- one, a new bottle purchased in 1995 and cellared for 13 years, and the other, a new bottle purchased in 2008 -- are indeed two very different wines.
But since Cognac is distilled, it doesn't age in the bottle. So if you bought a bottle of Rémy Martin VSOP Cognac in 1995, and another bottle of Rémy Martin VSOP in 2005, you simply have two bottles of Rémy VSOP -- one is just dustier than the other.
A more illustrative example would be 12-year old Scotch. A bottle of 12-year old Scotch purchased in 1995 and another bottle of the same 12-year old Scotch purchased in 2008 gives you two bottles of 12-year old Scotch . . . the 1995 bottle is STILL 12-year old Scotch; it is NOT 23 year old Scotch.
It is perfectly drinkable, presuming (as sku has said) it is still sealed. It should be perfectly fine.
>>> Is a decent bottle of Cognac? <<<
Rémy Martin is one of the "Big Four," so to speak -- the major houses of Cognac, along with Courvoisier, Hennessy, and Martell. Rémy produces (generally) a lighter, more delicate style of Cognac (vs., say, Couvoisier), and is highly regarded throughout the world.
"Great bottle"? No. There are certainly older, more complex bottles of Cognac out there. But you asked if is it a "decent" bottle, and it is certainly better than "decent." For many people, Rémy Martin VSOP is the benchmark by which all others are judged. I have no doubt your friend will enjoy it.
Allycat, sunshine has accidentally given you INCORRECT information (one of the very few times this has happened) . .
There is no such thing as "cognac champagne." Cognac is a very specific type of brandy produced in a very special region of France, just north and east of the Bordeaux region in western France near the Atlantic. It has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the Champagne region of France, which is east of Paris on the way to Belgium.
Within the region of Cognac, there are six geographical sub-districts in terms of where the grapes are grown. The finest is called "Grande Champagne," and next is "Petite Champagne"; then comes (in descending quality) Borderies, Fin Bois, Bons Bois, and finally Bois Ordinaires. If a producer uses grapes from only one of these sub-regions to produce his or her Cognac, that sub-region may appear on the label. If a producer uses grapes from two or more, then no sub-region can be named on the label EXCEPT . . . if all of the grapes come solely from the two "Champagnes" (Grande and Petite), then the term "Fine Champagne" can be used to geographically identify the origin of the grapes for the Cognac.
Rémy Martin VSOP has long been a "Fine Champagne" Cognac, meaning it is a blend of brandies made from those two sub regions.
Cognac is NOT Marc. Marc is a specific type of brandy made from what is left after the pressing of the grapes (as sunshine described), but the result is called "Marc" (or "grappa" in Italy). What sunshine described below would be a Marc de Champagne, and it is produced IN the Champagne region of France. The pommace is never transported to the Cognac region and produced into Marc there. No. There is also Marc de Bourgogne (made in the Burgundy region of France), Marc d'Alsace (produced in Alsace), Marc de _________ --> it's made all over France, but has nothing to do with Cognac, and is totally unlike Cognac in every way! (Well, OK, both *are* types of brandy, but they are literally night-and-day from each other.)
Obviously there is confusion caused by the use of the word "Champagne" within the Cognac region, but in Old French (IIRC) "Champagne" was a corruption of the word "campagne" meaning "countryside" -- and in that sense, it fits. But, yes, it can be confusing today.
---> Champagne, the wine, *is* bubbly! Wine is fermented from grapes.
---> Cognac is one type of brandy. Brandy is distilled from wine.
---> Whisk(e)y is distilled from grain.
The three are VERY different from one another. Cognac should never taste like whisky.
You can get some very misleading advice on these boards. If you worry about being poisoned (and who wouldn't) I'll take the stuff off your hands for $2. ;-)