Abbreviation for "Very Special" or also "Very Superior" (very excellent) as an indication of the maturing time or quality for a brandy; see under Cognac.
Probably the most famous brandy in the world is named after the city of the same name in the Département Charente immediately north of Bordeaux in southwest France near the Atlantic coast. When the Roman commander Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) conquered Gaul, his legionaries allegedly brought the Trebbiano vine from their homeland, which later became the main grape variety for cognac. According to legend, the name of the region Cognac goes back to the Roman general Comnus. The 12th century saw the advent of spriten, the process of preserving a wine by adding alcohol. It was also discovered that wine from the Cognac region was particularly suitable for distillation. Around 1530, the Dutch introduced the art of distillation in this area, they called the wine distillates "Brandewijn", from which the English term brandy was derived. At that time it was common to produce distillates by single distillation, as is still the case with Armagnac today.
The invention of the cognac by distilling it twice is attributed to the Chevalier de la Croix Maron, Seigneur de Segonzac towards the end of the 16th century. There is a beautiful legend about this, which is still told today. The devout knight is said to have dreamed that the devil wanted to steal his soul by burning it out in a cauldron. However, thanks to his unshakable faith, he survived the ordeal unscathed. And also a second distillation attempt of the devil was unsuccessful, so that the knight had the idea to extract the soul of the brandy with a second distillation. The new drink quickly caught on, and the Dutchman Augustin Godet was the first to receive state permission to export the cognac. A certain Jean Martell settled in cognac in 1715 and produced brandy, followed by Richard Hennessy and others whose names are still on the market today and are among the most renowned brands.
Around 1870, phylloxera came to this area and also destroyed many vineyards in the Charente. Today's vineyard area of around 75,000 hectares is only a third of what it used to be. The basis for 90% of the Cognac production is mainly Saint-Émilion/Ugni Blanc(Trebbiano Toscano), as well as Colombard and to a lesser extent Folle Blanche. In 2005, the new variety Folignan was also approved, with a maximum of 10% of the vineyard area per farm. As early as 1860, the French geologist Henri Coquand (1813-1881) and a professional distillery inspector were commissioned to classify the region in terms of quality. But it was not until 1909 that the boundaries and production regulations were defined. However, brandy continued to...