Rich in history and admirable scholarship. . . . It's a fine grande champagne of a book, to be savored over and over. -Patricia Wells, author of The Provence Cookbook Called the ""brandy of the gods"" by Victor Hugo, Cognac is a universal symbol of refinement and quality. In the first comprehensive history of this celebrated drink, Kyle Jarrard ...
Rich in history and admirable scholarship. . . . It's a fine grande champagne of a book, to be savored over and over. -Patricia Wells, author of The Provence Cookbook Called the ""brandy of the gods"" by Victor Hugo, Cognac is a universal symbol of refinement and quality. In the first comprehensive history of this celebrated drink, Kyle Jarrard charts Cognac's birth in the 1500s and its transformation into the world's most coveted brandy. Along the way, he reveals how Cognac distillers weathered vineyard die-offs, the German occupation, and other challenges over the years-and offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Hennessy, Remy-Martin, Courvoisier, Martell, and other legendary brands. For any Cognac lover, this fascinating book will make the perfect gift. Kyle Jarrard (Paris, France) is a senior editor at the International Herald Tribune and author of the highly acclaimed novels Over There and Rolling the Bones.
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-01-10 It's fitting that a Paris-based novelist and International Herald Tribune editor should chronicle the history of the famously refined French brandy. And Jarrard does a nice job of it, offering a thorough, well-researched and objective history of cognac. He begins with a geological history of the French province of Charente, on the Atlantic coast, where the town of Cognac is located. The Romans brought the first grapes to the region, but it would be centuries before viniculture really took root there. The earliest attempts to make what we now call cognac began during the Middle Ages, as alchemists and apothecaries experimented with putting local grape pressings through their distillation apparatuses. While France evolved from a feudal kingdom into an imperial, colonial power, the cognac-making process developed, although factors like weather and warfare often prevented distilleries from obtaining the necessary raw materials. By the Napoleonic era, however, cognac began appearing on the world market, and its makers worked at refining their product and their methods as demand for the elegant, amber, aromatic brandy increased. Jarrard brings the story to the present, examining the various brands dominating the market today, including Hennessy, Remy-Martin and Courvoisier. Although a more driving narrative and some strongly defined characters would've given this text more life, it's a must for aficionados. B&w photos. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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