Posts Tagged ‘Jerez’

Pedro de Valdivia Platinum

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Review

After more than a year of putting a Brandy review online, it is about time to dig into the 15 or 16 Brandys I brought back from my short vacation in the south of Spain in 2015. And not just some Brandy it is. It is the Platinum from Pedro de Valdivia, produced by the Bodegas Valdivia S.A.. To see their regular Solera Gran Reserva check here. But today we are treating ourselves as it should be!

The bottle comes in a sleek simpel black package. And the elegant bottle pays enough tribute to whats inside without getting in the way. The Platinum comes numbered and the bottle tasted here is 0807. And while this is a Solera Gran Reserva already the dark color and then the nose give it away. It contains a lot of old Brandy!

After having been hypnotized by the enchanting look and smell the expectations rose up. I have to say almost too high to be realistic. Don’t know but the complete package was just so smart that it was totally impossible to not taste spectacular. All the sweet woodenness, the mahogany color. Of course, as all Brandys do, the smell alone is not a 100% pleasant as there is loads of alcohol involved that resolves into the air and might lead your senses into the wrong direction. But to make a long story short, the Platinum did not disappoint. It delivered and it delivered in heaps! Fruity tasting while vine and vinegar notes were present as well. Wood and sweetness was there too. Obviously top grade material that has left in barrels for decades.

I can’t remember the price I paid back then. I believe it came a bit at a premium compared to the standard Brandys. In any case, it was well worth it. As said this Brandy is a top, great, a peach, superior or whatever you want to hear, when it comes to a premium product. Sweetness is well balanced with the fire of Spain’s grapes and wines. Top notch. If I was forced to say something negative it would be, that it somewhat left me wishing it would be a tad more woody and sweet just like the top Brandys from Lustau or Sanchez Romante. At the same time that I said this, it clearly plays in the same league and I welcome the addition that has it’s own soul and character! Well done Bodegas Valdivia!

For more infos click on the tasting sheet:
Pedro de Valdivia Platinum

Visiting bodegas in Jerez

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Post

One of the reasons that I am not posting on a regular basis lately was that I was on vacation. 🙂 And not just any place. Finally a little dream of mine came true and I was able to walk the magic halls of some of the finest bodegas in the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. Endless rows of solera style casks strung one after the other. Oloroso, Canasta, Fino and many other wines where stored and one of the things that stood out most for me, was that sweet scent of aged wine and wood that was in the air. This intriguing and intoxicating aroma reminded my of some of the best, old Brandies I have had and I immediately got caught up in it, never wanting to leave again.

Bodega Lustau

I was able to attend a guided tour of the Bodega Lustau. The history, tradition and knowledge there were really deeply impressive. The tour ended with the obligatory wine tasting (of course, no Brandies were included in the standard tasting). As I had to drive later that day, I passed on some of the drier wines just nosing a little. When it came to the sweeter Sherrys I did try some with the Lustau East Indian Solera being my favorite. Excellent stuff! A little dissapointment was that the in-house shop did not have anything special when it came to my beloved brandies. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lustau and all of their Brandies were present there. But I was kind of hoping that there would be something to find that you can only get right from the bodega and not anywhere else (later I found out that none of the bodegas I visited had something like that). Here I would like to give my respect to Manuel Lozano, the head enologist at Lustau. He obviously has a very special hand (,nose and palate) and is able to refine Lustaus wines and spirits into something very special. I certainly recommend a guided tour at Lustau!

Bodega Humbert William

Of course I was on the lookout for Brandies when visiting Jerez! Stuff that I did not know up until then or I was not able to get my hands on so far. On the one hand side I entered every shop I could find and asked for “especialidades” (not much to the pleasure of my family) and on the other hand I payed a visit to as much bodega shops I possibly could in the short time. The best visit of a bodega shop certainly was at Williams & Humbert (gotta love the Gran Duque d’Alba!). This was due to the simple fact that the shop was at the very end of a huge ‘almacen’ (warehouse) stocked with solera lines of casks. As I was on my own I pretty much had the chance to walk unguided through the warehouse, soaking up the atmosphere, the scent and the tradition. Truly amazing places that give the impression of cathedrals where your senses are lulled by the sweet smell of aging wine.

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At the end of the short trip we had to buy an additional suitcase to make space for all the bottles of Brandy. So it certainly was an eventful and successful hunt. 🙂 As posted on my facebook page already, I brought back 11 Brandies. I left for Andalusia with a big list of Brandys that I had not tasted before and I only got two or three from that list. Many of the ones I bought I have not heard of before or did not know that this bodega makes a “gran gran reserva”, platinum or whatever name they give their finest of the fine. So some are very unique and precious and some simply just to good to pass on. As I already had some closed bottles at home I am now left with the cumbersome work to open all of them and write a tasting. What a terrible stress I will be putting myself through! Can’t wait. 🙂

Duque de Veragua

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Review

Another gem from Jerez that for some reason is not so well known outside of Spain: the Duque de Veragua Solera Gran Reserva made by Álvaro Domecq, S.L. from Jerez. This one was on my radar for some years but I somewhat never was able to source it for a decent price (I really wish I could visit Spain more often). Finally I found a place in Germany that had a good offer and I pulled the trigger. Maybe this Brandy is not so well known outside of Spain as the bodega is rather young. But so much upfront, I feel this really should change!

Duque de Veragua Brandy Jerez

The presentation with the nicely shaped bottle in the old school, red cardboard packaging already builds up a high expectation. The dark, glossy and almost coffee like color even more so. And what can I say, opening the bottle for the first time fills the ambient air with the rich scent of a well aged Solera Gran Reserva. Don’t you just love it when you pull the cork and get a nice whiff of Brandy?!? Spectacular!

Duque de Veragua Brandy Jerez

Luckily the taste and finish do not disappoint the high expectation as the drink carries all the classic aspects of an excellent Brandy. Really a true master piece that outshines many of the well known regular SLRs by a good stretch! Not knowing how many years this distill has on its back I am guessing that it contains quite some old stock, at least 15 to 20 years if not more (and after checking the home page linked above I understand the older contents of this SGR are 30 years).

Duque de Veragua Brandy Jerez

I personally always like to know which grapes have been used and here as well the above linked home page is very helpful. The Duque de Veragua is made of 95% Airen and 5% Palomino grapes. Another interesting aspect is the 38% alcohol by volume (AVB). Many Brandies have 40% so this Brandy has a particular smooth mouth feeling. Really the only thing I could point out as a minus here is the availability in my neighborhood and if I could choose I would wish for an even longer finish. Maybe the more expensive Duque de Veragua Reserva would satisfy this need in me? 🙂 In any case this Duque de Veragua is really great stuff and I highly recommend it!!!

For more infos click on the tasting sheet: Duque de Veragua

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