Pineau des Charente is a Brandy That is Almost a Cognac.
Pineau des Charentes, or Pineau, is a brandy that is produced, like Cognac, in the Charente Department of France and shares many of the characteristics of Cognac.
While Pineau des Charentes could be characterized as a brandy, the old adage applies, “All Cognacs are brandies but not all brandies are Cognacs.” In order for a brandy to be considered Cognac, it must meet the growing, distilling and aging standards of the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac.
Pineau is made from eaux-de-vie from the Cognac region, but unlike Cognac that blends various eaux-de-vie and ages them in French oak barrels for years or even decades, Pineau is made by blending eaux-de-vie with fresh grape juice (a process known as assemblage) from the current year’s vintage. The eaux-de-vie and grape juice mixture is then aged in French oak barrels for at least 18 months. If the mixture is barrel aged for five years, the Pineau can earn the designation of vieux (old) and if for ten years, tres vieux (very old).
The alcohol content of Pineau ranges from 16-22%, while most cognacs are 40% alcohol, although some extra proof cognacs may reach 53%.
Like Cognac, the production of Pineau is governed by a standards body – The Comite National Du Pineau des Charentes that established in 1945 Pineau des Charentes as an appellation d’origine contrôlée product.
Types of Pineau
The grapes used in producing white Pineau are essentially the sames as those used in producing Cognac, mostly Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Folle Blanche.
The grapes used in producing red and rose Pineau are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
Who Makes Pineau?
While Pineau is often drunk neat, it also serves as a useful mixture in cocktails. Click here to see some Pineau cocktail recipes from The Comite National Du Pineau des Charentes.
To learn more about Pineau des Charentes visit:
The Comite National Du Pineau des Charentes
112, Avenue Victor Hugo 16121 Cognac
Tel: 33 (0) 5 45 32 09 27
Fax: 33 (0) 5 45 35 42 25