The Best Brandies From February 2017

These ten brandies were the Tasting Table's favorites in February!
Feb 28, 2017
  • 10
    10 Conneaut Cellars Cussewago Blanc
    79
    Rich & Floral
    As the producer’s name implies, Conneaut Cellars are mostly concerned with the business of growing grapes and making wine. They are located in the Northwest corner of Pennsylvania in what is considered the Lake Erie wine region. A selection of European and American hybrid grapes are vinified and this particular unaged brandy is distilled from the Vidal variety. A classic copper-steam hybrid still is used for the process.
  • 9
    9 Cognac Park VS Carte Blanche
    83
    Floral & Woody
    Gaston Tessendier founded the Distillerie Tessendier estate in 1880 and today is led by brothers Jérôme and Lillian Tessendier, the fourth generation Master Cellars in charge. Their VS Carte Blanche has been produced in small batches to maintain character. It is comprised of brandies blended from the Fins Bois and Petite Champagne crus. The eaux-de-vie distilled from ugni blanc grapes are kept in new Limousin casks for 6 months, and then transferred to older casks for further aging, between 4 and 8 years. This is the youngest expression in the brand's lineup and is bottled at 40% ABV.
  • 8
    8 Cognac Park Borderies Single Vineyard
    87
    Floral & Fruity
    The Distillerie Tessendier estate was founded in 1880 by Gaston Tessendier. Today, it's still run as a family house, Maison Park, built on carrying that tradition forward through the generations. The Borderies cru, one of six delimited growing regions for cognac, is the one of the smallest by land area. A rarity among cognacs from this region, Cognac Park Borderies was aged 15 years, first spending 10 months in new Limousin oak casks before being transferred to older casks. As a single vineyard expression, it was designed to both showcase the floral, light qualities of the Borderies region, as well as to serve as a transition between a VSOP and XO range.
  • 7
    7 Rhine Hall La Normande
    88
    Sweet & Fruity
    Rhine Hall distills fresh fruit brandies at their distillery in Chicago, Illinois. Their "La Normande" is a pommeau, a French-style apple cordial. It is made by fortifying a non-fermented apple cider made on site with Rhine Hall's apple brandy, and then ageing the mixture for 9 months in 52-gallon bourbon barrels from Heaven Hill. It is bottled at 18% ABV. Limited availability.
  • 6
    6 Somerset Cider Brandy 20 Year
    88
    Woody & Spicy
    This 20 year-old brandy was released annually on Apple Day in October with one barrel being bottled each year. 2015 marked the last year for the 20-year release. Cider is produced at the farm from September until Christmas while they reserve distilling for the month of April, before it gets too hot. The cider brandy (also known as apple brandy) is bottled at 42% ABV after aging in small oak barrels. This review was taken from the 2012 bottling. Note: This is sold in 500ml sized bottles.
  • 5
    5 Marolo Grappa di Barolo
    88
    Nutty
    Marolo Grappa di Barolo is a grappa distilled from the pomace of Nebbiolo, a red wine grape variety grown in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. It is aged for at least 4 years in small oak barrels.
  • 4
    4 Sarpa di Poli
    88
    Fruity
    Sarpa di Poli comes from the Poli family in northern Italy who have been distilling grappa for over 100 years. "Sarpa" in the Venetian dialect means "grape pomace" which is the foundation for grappa. This bottling is a blend of grappas made from the pomace or skins of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
  • 3
    3 Bache-Gabrielsen VSOP Natur & Eleganse
    90
    Woody & Fruity
    Bache-Gabrielsen is a revered cognac house started in 1905. The “Natur & Eleganse” line is supposed to be a break from their classical line signified with an non-traditional, short, squat bottle and a flavor profile that highlights “no-nonsense," “frank and fruity characters.” The four-plus year old brandy is all ugni blanc sourced from vines in mostly the Fins Bois, but also the Petite Champagne and Grande Champagne crus.
  • 2
    2 F. Meyer Mirabelle Eau-de-Vie
    90
    Fruity
    The F. Meyer distillery was founded in Howarth in the Alsace region of France in 1958, and produces a variety of eaux-de-vie. Mirabelle is made from small, sweet yellow plums from the Lorraine. It is double-distilled in copper pot-stills and then rested in steel tanks for two to five years before bottling.
  • 1
    1 Chateau de Montifaud Napoléon Fine Petite Champagne
    92
    Rich & Fruity
    Current sixth-generation family member, Laurent Vallet, runs Chateau de Montifaud, where there's a history of production on their property dating to at least 1837. They operate as a rare grower distiller, with 110 of their 120 hectares of grapes located in Petite Champagne, and the remaining located in Grande Champagne. The Napoléon expression is aged between 15 and 18 years.