Monday, September 23, 2019

Gonzalez Byass Lepanto Brandy de Jerez Solera Gran Reserva

During our summer tour of the Tio Pepe winery in Jerez, we learned that Gonzalez Byass has been distilling grape brandy since the founders purchased their first copper alembic still in 1844.  Today they produce a range of brandies with the Lepanto Brandy de Jerez Solera Gran Reserva ($35) one of their premium products.

This is the only Brandy de Jerez to be produced entirely within Jerez and is made from Palomino grape must that is double distilled in Charentais pot stills (Cognac stills manufactured in the 1960s).  The hearts or "holandas" of the run (68-72% abv)  is aged in a traditional “Criaderas y Solera” system, in American oak casks previously used to age sherry.  The solera contains 15 criaderas, with an average age of over 12 years.  Nine of those years were spent in used Tio Pepe barrels and three in used Matusalem barrels. (To learn more about these sherries visit A Family Visit to Gonzalez Byass for Tio Pepe. )  The final bottled Lepanto brandy has a lighter weight than expected but packs plenty of flavors with abundant nuts and some caramel and vanilla. The finish is smooth and savory whether neat or with a drop of water, Cheers.

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