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    Where to sip cognac in France and the USA

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    Céline Bossart, Special for USA TODAY
    6:43 a.m. EST November 22, 2016

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    This is the year of Cognac. A revival of sorts is rippling across the bar industry, with a careful concentration on sipping culture and the reintroduction of classic cocktails amplified by a growing receptiveness befitting of the region’s 1,000th anniversary.

    In the past six years, cognac importing has grown more than 40% in the USA, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), making way for a trickle-down resurgence from retailer and bar to consumer via bottle and glass.

    Cognac is often complex, sometimes heated, at times best on its own and at others within a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is an art and a culture, refined and steeped in history. We honor this age-old spirit in our exploration.

    From ground to glass

    The chalk of the earth is where cognac begins. White grapes — most commonly Ugni blanc — are grown from old, twisted vines amid whitish rocks and brown soil. The harvest (les vendanges) takes place in mid- to late September, after which the winemaking process begins, and upon fermentation the liquid enters a double distillation process…



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