The Top Brandies From California

Although France gets the attention in the brandy world, California shouldn’t be overlooked. The Golden State grows a wide variety of grapes and other fruits which distillers use to make into brandy. Give these California brandies a try!
Jul 10, 2019
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    Argonaut Speculator Brandy is comprised of a complex blend of California brandies ranging in age from 3 to 19 years, with grapes that include chardonnay, French colombard, grenache, and muscat. A 3 year-old brandy distilled on an alembic still makes up a quarter of the blend, with another 29% dedicated to a 3 year-old coffey still brandy. Other older brandies, all distilled on coffey stills, make up the remainder of the blend.
  • 10
    The Sacred Bond from Christian Brothers is a named, in part, for it being bottled-in-bond, the first for a grape brandy. Aged for 4 years in former Heaven Hill bourbon barrels, the brandy is distilled in California in copper pot-stills. It is bottled at 50% ABV and as such is suggested for use in cocktails.
  • 9
    Red Soles Stillhouse operates within the Red Soles Winery in Paso Robles, California. They distill on a Holstein still from Germany that they call "Patience, My Dear." This five year old brandy is aged in new French oak with blackened heads.
  • 8
    Pendray's Distillery is the distilling arm of PasoPort Winery, a winery specializing in port-style wines in Templeton, California. This is a viognier-based brandy aged in the winery's white port barrels.
  • 7
    Argonaut Fat Thumb Brandy is a blend of 8 different pot and coffey still brandies ranging in age from 2 to 16 years, and with grapes that include grenache, French colombard, and muscat, in addition to blends. A quarter of the batch is a 9 year-old pot still brandy, with the other components each comprising anywhere from 4-20% of the blend.
  • 6
    Osocalis XO Brandy is made from older Californian brandies made from colombard, chenin blanc, semillon, and pinot noir grapes. Founded in the early 1990s, Osocalis is a small family-run distillery located in Soquel, California in the greater Santa Cruz area. Their brandies are produced on small, alambic charentais stills (100 liters) imported from the Cognac region.
  • 5
    Agnesi 1799 Brandy is an American brandy sourced and blended by the Coppola family from stocks of California brandy. It is aged for 5 years and brought down to 80 proof with Napa Valley water from the Coppola's family estate in Inglenook. The brandy is named for Maria Gaetana Agnesi, an Italian 18th century mathematician, philosopher, and theologian. 1799 was the year of her death.
  • 4
    BERTOUX Brandy is a California brandy made from a blend of 3-7 year old pot-distilled brandies aged in American and French oak barrels. It was blended by renown bartender Jeff Bell (PDT NYC & PDT Hong Kong) and acclaimed sommelier Thomas Pastuszak (The NoMad NYC/LA/Las Vegas) and designed to be featured in cocktails. The name BERTOUX is inspired by French inventor Jean Bertoux, who patented a way for a bicycle to accommodate a passenger. Perhaps a Sidecar cocktail is what you should create first. This brandy is set to launch in NYC, LA and San Francisco beginning Fall 2018.
  • 3
    Germain Robin Craft Method Brandy is made from a blend of California wines such as colombard, pinot noir, and chenin blanc. First made in 1987, each release contains a Lot Number to distinguish each years release. If it were a cognac, it would be classified as a VSOP as it is aged about 6 years of age. Once named Fine Alambic Brandy.
  • 2
    Distilled in the winter of 1989, this brandy uses both pinot noir and sauvignon blanc grapes in its production. It was double-distilled in an Alambic Charentais pot-still and aged for 24 years in French Limousin and Nevers oak barrels. 1000 cases were bottled at 46% ABV.
  • 1
    The 2019 Release of St George's California Reserve Apple Brandy is made from a field blend of local apples sourced from a family-owned farm in Mendocino County. After distillation, the apple brandy is aged for 2-7 years in used American whiskey barrels as well as used American and French oak wine casks.