May 27, 2017

Cognac et Pineau | France

This postacrd is from France and it has a Cognac and Pineau theme. Cognac is a variety of brandy named after the town of Cognac, France. It is produced in the surrounding wine-growing region in the Departements of Charente and Charente-Maritime.

Cognac production falls under French Appellation d'origine contrôlée designation, with production methods and naming required to meet certain legal requirements. Among the specified grapes Ugni blanc, known locally as Saint-Emilion, is most widely used. The brandy must be twice distilled in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in French oak barrels from Limousin or Tronçais. Cognac matures in the same way as whiskies and wine barrel age, and most cognacs spend considerably longer "on the wood" than the minimum legal requirement.
Pineau des Charentes, (Pineau Charentais, or simply Pineau) is a regional French aperitif, made in the départements of Charente, Charente-Maritime and, to a much lesser extent, Dordogne in western France. While popular within the region of production, it is less well known in other regions of France and somewhat uncommon abroad.

It is a fortified wine (mistelle or vin de liqueur), made from either fresh, unfermented grape juice or a blend of lightly fermented grape must, to which a Cognac eau-de-vie is added and then matured. Pineau is also found as a home-made product in the neighbouring Deux-Sèvres and Vendée départements. There is also a similar drink called "Troussepinette" that is made in the Vendée, which is often flavoured with pine or fruits such as pear. Elsewhere in France analogous drinks are made (Macvin in Jura, Floc de Gascogne in the Armagnac area; there is also Pommeau, similarly made by blending apple juice and apple brandy), but these products are much less well known nationally and internationally than Pineau.

The card was posted on Sunday 8th August 1981 from Segonzac, a village (technically, a commune in the French settlement hierarchy) within the Charente department of southwestern France, in the Cognac area. There is a strong sense of community, there are several local shops (bakery, butcher's, and so on), restaurants, using local farms and produce. It has a historic town hall emblazoned with the words "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité", the French motto. There's also a large church and local fitness facilities such as a public swimming-pool, a track and a football pitch. The Château de Saint-Martial is situated nearby.

In the back it reads: 'Sorry I've written so many cards, I forgot to write in English. Hope you got back to England on 26/27 July. David and Jocefine P.S. (Don't forget my map!)'

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