A & G Apple Brandy Reserve
St. Julian Winery // Michigan, USA
The St. Julian winery of the Lake Michigan Shore Appellation also makes apples for cider and some lucky Golden Delicious and Gala apples end up in this American brandy. All A&G products are distilled in the industry standard Carl stills designed in Germany. In order to achieve a golden hue the spirit ages for at least a year in toasted French oak barrels with an extra toast to the heads. Then the brandy takes a quick dip into a barrel that was previously used in a Cream Sherry solera for an extra infusion of color and sweetness.
American BrandyProduced in the US, this is usually referring to brandy distilled from grape-based wine. If the producer uses other fruit, it must be stated on the label. If aged under two years in oak, it must state the word "immature" on the label. Beyond that, labels such as VS, VSOP, and XO mean little as the brands themselves dictate what that means to them.
Cask TypeToasted French Oak, Cream Sherry
"The aromatics of this brandy have a strong apple character (good) but a bit too much wood char (bad). The barrel flavors are further apparent with a fairly chewy palate that maintains some fresh orchard fruit but suffers from a hint of astringency. The finish takes a bizarre turn with a sweet, baked grape character that must be the result of the Cream Sherry influence and unfortunately lingers far longer than any hint of apple. There are many interesting things going on here, but unfortunately the flavors compete rather than reach a coherent whole. "