Thursday, June 02, 2011

Brandy... for Dad

My father loves brandy. Every night, he enjoys a glass of Asbach Uralt German brandy before bed. So when we started our distillery, and being in the heart of a thriving wine country, grape brandy was always part of our plan.  We had to make it, if for no other reason than... for Dad!

For eleven months of the year, we only do grain production, rye grain, specifically. But for September, we shut down all the grain production, and focus on grapes while the harvest is arriving.

Last year, we distilled our first grape brandy, a combination of Seyval Blanc and Chambourcin grapes from Tarara Winery in northern Loudoun County. The grape spirit (called an Eau de vie when unaged) was lovely, just lovely! But we had distilled this to be aged, and so it went into the three large Bordeaux casks. These casks had been previously used for red wine, and we were looking for some of that red wine flavor, along with the wood, to affect the brandy.

This morning, then, I pulled a sample from the barrel for analysis. (Yes, that's what they call it in my trade... analysis! Some job, huh?)

The brandy is already amazing with color: It is only nine months old, and yet it has a deep dark caramel color--obtained entirely from the wood, nothing else added! And the flavor is magnificent! Deep grape flavors swirled with complex wood, full bodied and not thin at all. Nutmeg, pecans, and fruitcake all present.

If we were in France, this would essentially be a Cognac, but here, we shall just call it brandy.   But a very nice brandy already, and it still has 15 more months of aging, minimum!

So, away with this brandy for a while. This sample is just a teaser. But good things are to come!

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