Monthly magazine of the Federation of NOT Scientific and Technical Associations

30th edition of the Golden Engineer poll

Wine for the Engineer (277): Brandy de Jerez (2)

Breaking out of purely wine topics, I praised Brandy de Jerez a month ago by mentioning that I had been to a tasting of them – well, now it’s time to write about how these liquors really taste. In doing so, I will start by saying that they are drinkable both in the traditional way, that is, clean and slightly warmed in the hands, and in the “youth” fashion, that is, with ice. For winter, the first way is as good as it gets, but in hot weather, the second way produces an effect more pleasing to the palate. This is truly a commendable versatility!

The tasting I mentioned earlier, which I once attended, was aimed at promoting the Brandy de Jerez available in Poland. At the time, the following six brands were:

– Imperio from Pedro Domecq, grade: solera, 36% alc,

– Soberano (Gonzales Byass), class: solera, zaw. alk. 36%,

– Magno (Osborne) – brandy of the solera reserva class, zaw. alk. 36%,

– Capa Negra (Sandeman), class: solera reserva, zaw. alk. 36%,

– Cardenal Mendoza from Sanchez Romate Hnos, grade: solera gran reserva, zaw. alk. 42%,

– Gran Duque d’Alba from Williams &Humbert, grade: solera gran reserva, zaw. alk. 40%.

Discerning and attentive readers will probably not be surprised to learn that, of the six, I enjoyed the best of the two top-grade solera gran reserva brandies during the tasting. The first, Cardenal Mendoza, stood out for its intense color (between mahogany and caramel), complex aroma (caramel, vanilla, wood) and rather sweet but very refined taste, with notes of aged oak. In the competition with cognacs, it could rival even my favorite Otard, and the competition with French brandies of the “Napoleon” class would win hands down.

Brandy de Jerez Gran Duque d’Alba was lighter (golden mahogany color), had a sweeter aroma (dates, roasted almonds), and was more noticeable in its flavor, although it supposedly had less alcohol!

Soleras of the “reserva” class defended themselves bravely, and in the mouth one could clearly feel the long aging time, positively influencing the taste of the liquor. Simple brandies of the “solera” class, however, tasted not much worse, and it should be remembered that – for the sake of price – they can find in our country a larger number of amateurs.

We are a nation of the North, and we really do have something to warm ourselves up with on cold winter evenings, so Brandy de Jerez is not necessary for us. In the summer heat, however, we like to look for refreshing novelties – and here the liquors of this group will be just right. Those inclined to research in this area will find for themselves two chapters in the book Casas mentioned a month ago, and those interested in cooking – in the same literature item – quite a few examples of exquisite dishes to be prepared with brandy from Jerez (including carpaccio with a sauce made with this brandy, Spanish onion soup flambéed with Brandy de Jerez, salmon in a “tweaked” marinade and a modified Andalusian gazpacho cooler).

Worldwide, Brandy de Jerez prices vary. The aforementioned Cardenal Mendoza – is, for example, in the Canary Islands an expense of approx. 35 euros, but you can also buy a simple Baco solera there for 5 euros (sic!) or a Baco reserva solera for 8 euras. It’s not that cheap in Poland, but it’s worth looking around – because Brandy de Jerez is a unique beverage, worthy of more attention than it has received so far.

Readers are recommended to have a drink based on Brandy de Jerez from time to time – of course, just one, because one must be careful with strong spirits…. Cheers!

wine geek