The term “cognac” refers to a specific type of brandy produced in the Cognac region of France. Cognac has a protected designation of origin, which means that it can only be produced in that particular region using specific grape varieties and production methods. The name “cognac” is legally reserved for brandy that meets these criteria.
Sarajishvili is a Georgian brandy producer that has been producing spirits since 1884. Georgian brandy, including Sarajishvili, is often referred to as cognac due to historical reasons and cultural influences. In the past, the term “cognac” was not as strictly regulated as it is today, and brandy produced in various regions could be labeled as cognac.
Georgian brandy, including Sarajishvili, gained recognition and popularity over time, particularly during the Soviet era when it was widely consumed and appreciated. However, after the enforcement of stricter regulations regarding the use of the term “cognac,” only brandy produced in the Cognac region of France can officially be called cognac.
While Sarajishvili is not legally recognized as cognac outside of Georgia, it is still highly regarded for its quality and distinct Georgian style. So, it is famous as a cognac in the sense that it follows the traditional production methods and has similarities to cognac, but it is not recognized as such by international regulations.
Nowadays it is not legal to label Georgian brandy as “cognac” outside of Georgia. The term “cognac” is protected by international regulations known as Geographical Indications (GIs) and specifically refers to brandy produced in the Cognac region of France. These regulations restrict the use of the term “cognac” to the French region and its specific production methods.
While Georgian brandy may have similarities to cognac in terms of production techniques and flavor profiles, it cannot be labeled as cognac in most countries. Instead, Georgian brandy producers use terms such as “brandy” or “Georgian brandy” to market and sell their products outside of Georgia, respecting the protected designation of origin for cognac.
The birth of Georgian brandy
At the heart of the Georgian brandy story is a visionary figure named David Sarajishvili. It was in the late 19th century that Sarajishvili, inspired by French cognac-making techniques, decided to bring this craftsmanship to his homeland. His pioneering efforts laid the foundation for Georgian cognac and created a legacy that continues to flourish today.
Georgian brandy stands out for its unique properties that distinguish it from its French counterpart. One of the main features is the use of unique grape varieties grown in the fertile vineyards of Georgia. These grapes, such as Rkatsiteli, Saperavi and Alexandrouli, contribute to the rich flavor profile of Georgian brandy and give it a character that reflects the country’s rich wine heritage.
Making Georgian brandy is a complex process that requires expertise and patience. From the careful cultivation of grapes to the art of distillation, every step is carried out with precision. Traditional techniques passed down from generation to generation ensure that the essence of Georgian is captured in every bottle.
Tasting notes and flavor profile
When tasting Georgian brandies, we discover a symphony of flavors. Aromas of dried fruit, honey and spices greet us in the nasal cavity, while on the tongue we encounter a rich palette of caramel, vanilla and a hint of Georgian soil. Each sip offers a journey through complex layers, leaving a lingering warmth and satisfaction that only the best cognacs can provide.
Significant producers of Georgians
Georgian brandy production is sustained by a number of exceptional artists and renowned brands. Prominent names such as Sarajishvili, Askaneli Brothers and Teliani Valley are synonymous with the excellent craftsmanship of Georgian brandy. Their dedication to preserving tradition while embracing innovation has elevated Georgian brandies to international recognition.
Suggestions for combinations and serving
Georgian brandy is usually recommended to be drunk on its own, without any other additives, in order to fully appreciate its taste and aroma. The traditional way of consuming Georgian brandy is pure, that is, without the addition of any mixers or ingredients, so that you can fully enjoy its aromas and flavors.
When drinking Georgian brandy, it is common to use a tulip-shaped glass or a funnel. This type of glass helps to concentrate the aromas, allowing you to fully experience the nuances of the distillate.
To fully appreciate its taste, it is recommended to hold the glass by the stem or the base, so that the Georgian brandy does not warm up with the heat of the hand. Take small sips and let the brandy linger on the palate to fully enjoy its complex flavor.
Some people also enjoy Georgian brandy with certain dishes. It can complement desserts such as chocolate or fruit desserts, as well as certain types of cheese. Experimenting with different combinations can enhance your tasting experience and help discover new flavor combinations.
Ultimately, the choice of how to drink Georgian brandy is a matter of personal taste. Regardless of whether you prefer it neat, with ice or with food, the most important thing is to savor and enjoy the whole experience.
Georgian brandy carries a deep cultural meaning. Apart from its excellent taste, Georgian brandy is also associated with deep cultural symbolism. Rooted in centuries-old traditions, it has become an integral part of Georgian hospitality and celebration. Sharing a glass of brandy signifies the warmth, friendship and community spirit that defines Georgian culture.
When exploring the world of cognac, don’t limit yourself to the French version, but immerse yourself in the beautiful world of Georgian brandies. Discover the stories that are in every bottle, the passion that is reflected in every drop and the heritage that shines through every sip. Raise a glass and toast to the allure of Georgian brandies – a truly extraordinary sensory experience.