Siciliano's Market News, January 21 Edition

This week's list of new and returning products follows a few words about Cognac

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

It's too cold to sit outside and since hanging out in bars, pubs, restaurants and tasting rooms continues to be off the table, every evening after supper Barb and I retreat to the rustic digs of our basement family room. When we get tired of watching the news we might put on a movie, binge watch something on TV or listen to our collection of vinyl. A few days ago Barb set up a card table and has been picking away at a thousand piece jig saw puzzle. Whatever it is we end up doing on these dark winter evenings we always assuage the effects of pandemic induced cabin fever with a bracing tot of brown liquor.

Barb always opts for bourbon but I like mixing things up a bit. Sometimes I'll go with the bourbon. Other times I'll go for a rye. If I'm in the mood for something a little different it might be a barrel aged rum or a reposado tequila. Just recently I've added Cognac to my list of after dinner drink choices.

All Cognacs are brandies, all brandies are distillations of wine but not all brandies are Cognacs. Brandies can't be legally called Cognac unless they are produced in the area surrounding the eponymous commune in southwestern France. The grapes that are grown in the region make a barely drinkable wine that is thin, bone dry and acidic. But after that same wine is distilled and aged in French oak barrels it goes through a wondrous transformation.

Unlike most brandies that are produced in other parts of the world, French regulations dictate that Cognac be distilled twice and aged for at least two years in oak barrels. Prolonged contact with the wood coupled with the interaction of oxygen through the staves results in a spirit that exhibits a spectrum of tastes and aromas ranging from flowers, citrus, honey, vanilla, smoke and earth. A good Cognac has the ability to lift the spirits and brighten the mood on even the darkest winter evenings.

Featured Wines of the Week

Guardians, 2018, Saperavi, Georgia, $14.39/750ml- A young juicy style of Saperavi full of life and fruit. Deep red colored with aromas and flavors of fresh red and black fruit and hints of spice. A nice underpinning of acidity followed by lighter and integrated tannins. Great by itself or with food. Pair with friends, burgers and pizza. (Source)

Dila-O, 2019, Saperavi, Georgia, $17.89/750ml- 100% Saperavi fermented in qvevri, large-clay jars buried underneath the ground, unfiltered and low-sulfite for