The Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac is rich resource for information on the entire Cognac Appellation.
The liquor Cognac has to be made in the Cognac region of France because it needs the subsoil, climate, and the specific quality of light that makes it unique.
This area is made up of 73,000 hectares (180,400 acres) of vineyards of which there are six different growing areas. Grande Champagne is known for making powerful cognacs. The second area is called Petite Champagne, and it is known to make elegant cognacs. Borderies is the third area, and makes well-rounded cognacs with violet aromas. The fourth area is called Fin Bois, and makes fine and elegant cognacs. The last two areas are named Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires.
Grande Champagne and Petit Champagne both have chalky soils. Hence the use of the word Champagne (derivative of the word “chalk”). (This is not to be confused with the Champagne region of France known for producing sparkling wine.) In Borderies and Fin Bois, there is a thin layer of clay before the chalk soil. And that gives those areas different characteristics.