In Ukraine, until 2025, domestic “cognac” should disappear. Thus, our state is to fulfill one of the requirements of the Association Agreement with the European Union. Instead of “cognac”, Ukrainian companies will produce brandy and sparkling wine instead of “champagne”.
But in fact, Ukraine has been using the name “cognac” illegally for more than a century. Even though many people, including manufacturers, consider this to be legitimate, Alexander Lukanin, the academician of the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences, said it in an interview with AgroFm.
“The French reserved the exclusive right to call cognac as it is called by a decree of 1909. In 1936, this decree was updated and in 2015, this name was banned at the European level,” the scientist says.
In European countries, the protection of geographical names exists for many years. This rule is strictly enforced there.
The specialist explains that cognac can only be called a drink made from grapes grown in the French department of Charente and processed in the commune Cognac. Even a high-quality drink of Ukrainian production will differ from it in taste. But we have not much quality drink.
“Every factory has up to 10-20% of very good “cognac”. The owners use this drink for their needs, demonstrate it at tastings, submit to contests, possibly sell abroad, and the like. It meets all the technological requirements,” Lukanin says, adding that such a drink does not reach the distribution networks.
In the trade network, all “cognacs” have the same color with a greenish cast. French cognac is not so, it has a little golden color.
French cognac has three main features: the floral aroma, “soapiness” (flavor of bugs, it is because of the essential oils used during distillation), the aroma of fresh oak.
In France, to make a cognac they use only three grape varieties, Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, and Colombard. They have high acidity and low sugar.
“We don’t have such varieties,” says Lukanin.
Also, our “cognacs” are different from the French ones, because they are produced using oak grown in another area. French oak has a coconut flavor, ours is more vanilla. Therefore, our high-quality “cognac” gives a greater fullness of flavor, but it is quite different than the French one.
At the same time, the consumption culture of cognac in Ukraine is low. Some people want to drink ” cognac for women” with caramel, some ask for “cognac” to drink, eating dumplings or shashlik.
“But you can not drink cognac, eating dumplings.” The culture of consumption needs to be developed, the expert concludes. “Now producers are setting the rules in the alcohol market, but it should be the other way around.”