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Brandy, is distilled from wine from a fermented fruit mash of grapes other fruits ingredients like cherry apricot, plum, apples and pear. The term used alone generally refers to the grape product; brandies made from the wines or fermented mashes of other fruits are commonly identified by the specific fruit name. Pome brandy comes from fruits like pears/apple, whilst stone fruit brandy use plums apricots and cherries. These fruits is fermented to wine by adding yeast to the mash, which results to a distilled robust, strong alcohol via copper pot stills or column stills. It is then aged in wood casks (French and American oak) for at least 2 years or up to 40 years where, it gets it oak flavors and amber/caramel color. Eau-de-vie are unaged brandies and it contained in stainless steel tanks to sedate. Most brandies are bottled at 40 percent alcohol by volume (80 proof).
The best recognized brandy in the world and is protected by the Cognac AOC (appellation d'origine contrôlée, or appellation of origin) and by law can only be made from grapes grown in the AOC region of South West France. Cognac is distilled twice in small copper pots and aged in wood casks for at two years, with designations (e.g., VS, VSOP, XO.).
Armagnac is also a grape brandy and has AOC protection, like Cognac and limits production to the Armagnac region of South West France, and a little deeper South, expanding into the slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains. This brandy uses the same age declarations as Cognac, VS, VSOP, XO, Hors d’Age. The distinction between Armagnac and Cognac is that Armagnac only has a single distillation method. Also the procedure of aeration doesn’t happen during the Cognac process where Armagnac makers move the spirit during maturing and involves draining it into a tank and forcing it back the same barrel or a separate new one. If the producer considers the brandy to be too powerful, then water is be added.
Made in the region of Normandy it is apple based spirit. It is made from Cider apples which are small in size and rich in tannins. Calvados is double or single distilled and is aged in oak casks. A column still is mandatory for single distillation, but a Charentais copper pot used in Cognac distillation is used to double distillation. The barrels used for Calvados are made from Sessile or Pedunculate oak, instead that of Limousin. There are cask strength Calvados, which is not reduced by using water and is bottled at its innate strength from the barrel and are bottled on demand and with a awesome concentration of flavors and smells.
Brandy de Jerez
Brandy de Jerez the brandy must be aged in barrels that have held sherry in the past and that use a solera system for aging. They also need to be matured within the ‘in the southern Jerez region There are three categories of Brandy de Jerez: Solera, Solera Reserva, and Solera Gran Reserva the solera system is when; fresher spirits are added to mature barrels, and a part is removed off before more brandy is increased. It results in sweeter brandy with a more intricate flavor.
South American brandy from Peru and Chile and distinct because Chilean pisco is often aged and Peruvian pisco not aged.. Pisco is not aged in wood glass but traditional clay jugs called botijas or in stainless steel cask, and rests for three months determined by the and also stronger than other brandies, ranging from 20 percent to 60 percent ABV (60 to 100 proof).
Very fruit brandy and means "water of life." In French. This spirit is clear and unaged and can be made from a variety of fruit. The most common are apple, peach pear and yellow plum.
Reading Brandy Labels
Brandy has a rating system to define its quality, age and finesse and usually on the bottle label.
VS "Very Special". For cognac, the newest brandy in the mix must be aged at least three years in wood cask; for Armagnac, the bare minimum is one year.
VSOP: "Very Superior Old Pale". Cognac, Calvados and Armagnac aged at least four years in oak cask.
Napoleon: Used for only French brands are aged in wood cask for at six years.
XO: "Extra Old." Cognac, Calvados and Armagnac must be aged at least ten years in cask
Hors d'age: Usually used for brandy too old to ascertain the age. Brandies with this label typically exceed the bare minimum by numerous years.
Vintage: Selects brandy stored in the wood cask until it is bottled with the label displaying the traditional date.
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