The Best Brandies From July

When you review as many brandies as we do, it's important to stop and go back over your favorites from the past month and remember what made them so special. These are the Tasting Table's favorites from July!
Aug 02, 2016
  • 5
    Rancio & Woody
    New to the American market, the Domaine d'Aurensan represents the pinnacle of artisanal vintage armagnac production -- already a category very distant from commercial releases. The laundry list of attention to details follows: native yeast fermentation, no addition of sulfur, alembic distillation, barrels built from wood on the property, bottling with no addition of color, filtration, or addition of water. They are even moving into biodynamic viticulture -- a near anomaly in the region. They don't refill barrels as they are aging at the estate which allows for lots of interaction with oxygen over the 40 years of aging for a big, rich profile and at the disadvantage of plenty of evaporation of spirit over the process. An armagnac made with no cut corners.
  • 4
    Oily & Earthy
    "Mosto Verde" ("green must" in Spanish) refers to the technique of distilling the wine before the fermentation is complete, with the aim of preserving the fresh, floral aromas of the grape. BarSol's flagship Pisco starts with 100% aromatic italia grapes fermented until the alcohol reached 3-5%, then distilled to the precise proof at which it is to be bottled (Peruvian Pisco may not be diluted with water).
  • 3
    Sweet & Rich
    Pierre Goursat Gourry is the current helmsman of the historic Gourry de Chadeville house in Cognac's heart: the Grande Champagne. Here historic is not overused -- the same building on the property has been used since 1619. This doesn't lead to a regal plantation, but instead a mere 7 hectares (about 17 acres.) This particular bottling is composed of all ugni blanc grapes. After distillation half of the yield landed in classic cognac cask and the other half into a used Sauternes (French dessert wine) cask. After five years the eaux de vie from the two casks was switched and then allowed to age another five years before being blended and bottled unfiltered. 520 bottle production.
  • 2
    Rich & Fruity
    Pellehaut is a fairly large polyculture farm in the rolling hills of the Ténarèze region in Armagnac. Here, cattle and grain join grapes destined for both table wines and a superb collection of vintage and non-vintage spirits. In the 1983 bottling, the only grape used is ugni blanc, making this a somewhat rare monovarietal armagnac. Brandies from Ténarèze can be famously hard in their youth, but this is a mature, giving example with over 30 years in cask.
  • 1
    Nutty & Rich
    This brandy hails from Bas-Armagnac, the most westerly region of Armagnac production in Gascony. Made from a blend of ugni blanc, folle blanche, and baco blanc grapes that were distilled in 1975, this offering from Baron Gaston Legrand was matured in French oak barrels before bottling.