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Old 02-15-2010, 10:27 PM   #1
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What is a mid-priced cognac?

I would like to find a bottle of cognac ... but the only ones I can ever seem to find are the ultra-premium brands like Remy Martin and Hennessy. Are there any brands that make a cognac in the $30 or under area? I know that cognac is synonymous with brandy just produced in a different area; nonetheless I'd like to pick up an actual bottle of cognac. It just surprises me that so many recipes call for cognac if it can only be acquired for $40+ per bottle.

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Old 02-15-2010, 10:40 PM   #2
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Ask someone at your local liquor store. They know the good from the bad.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:53 PM   #3
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Courvesiour (?) Hennessey, and Remy, among others, make VS Cognacs at around $30. These are fine for cooking. If you want to drink the Cognac, I would spring the extra $12 for the VSOP.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:40 AM   #4
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You might want to look at Armagnacs. Cognac is from a specific region in France and only Brandy from that region can be called cognac. Armagnac is another region and there are loads of great mid priced brand to choose from.

Here are some references:
The Sommelier: The Armagnac Primer
No-bling Armagnac
Drinkhacker.com Review: Domaine du Tariquet Armagnacs
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:49 AM   #5
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I've had very good luck cooking with Calvados, an apple brandy. For baking (it's OK for sipping although a tiny bit sharp) you can probably find a bottle in the $25-$30 range. Shop a bigger wine shop with a large selection.

After 20 years of marriage I had to get creative for hubby Christmas gifts...got him a very nice crystal snifter and each year I buy DH a different bottle of cognac. Over the last 15 years his favorite moderate-priced brand has been Courvoisier VSOP. If you want a very fine sipping cognac, however, he would enthusiastically recommend Kelt "Tour de Monde".
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:38 AM   #6
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Most restaurant chefs don't cook with actual Cognac, but with a similar French brandy. When I went surveying chefs I knew, I found that DeVille French brandy was the choice of many, as it is very reasonably priced, and similar in style to the pricier Cognac. It's not bad for sipping, either, fwiw!
I think you'll find that Armagnac is just as pricy as Cognac, and much more robust in flavor. That might be what you're looking for, but if you're hoping to save a couple $$, I don't think it will.

Most chefs don't cook with real Champagne, either. They use one of the Cremants or other sparkling wines that cost significantly less.
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:54 AM   #7
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:22 AM   #8
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Applejack

My grandmother always put green lable Applejack in her fruitcakes. (Green label tauted to be 100 proof.) When Frank was making duck liver pate', he went searching for cognac. We had none. Since there was over a meter of snow outside, I suggested he use the Applejack. The result was delicious. To the point where I hope he stays with Applejack in the future when making pate'.

I couldn't sip Applejack on its own, but it gives a nice flavor when added to foods...including fruitcake. :) It runs about 20 dollars a bottle.

~Kathleen
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