Brandy






Brandy is produced in many countries, including, of course the U.S. But many countries have made a specialty of certain brandy types. From France, Calvados, the traditional apple brandy of Normandy, and Armagnac, made in the south of France are two popular brandies. Spanish brandy has become increasingly popular having been developed and aged by the same system used for sherry. Italy and Greece also produce brandies that have won consumer acceptance. In Europe more kinds of fruit are made into brandy.

Kirsch or kirshwasser is a cherry brandy and generally has the distinct flavor off cherry. Plum brandy is called Mirabelle in France.

Quetsch in Germany, and Slivovitz in central Europe. Fruit flavored brandies generally are fairly distinctive in flavor. Besides sweetening substance that are added, the fruit flavor is obtained by adding extract of concentrated of fruit, such as peaches, apricots, blackberries, etc..

The alcohol contained is provided by the brandy base which almost always is produced from grapes.

Brandy can be distilled form any kind off wine. However, white wine, made from white grapes, produces a pleasing product and is almost universally used for brandy. The wine is better for brandy if it has just finished its fermentation with the yeast cells still suspended. An older wine, even high quality, yields an inferior brandy.

In this country the continuous column still has been in a general use since the turn of the century. A small amount of brandy is also made in pot stills, and is blended by a few producers in to a light bodied brandy.

The continuous still generally operated so as to produce the distillate at near, but not over, 170 proof. If distilled over 170 proof, it must be further identified as neutral brandy. A minim of two years maturation in oak casks is required; otherwise the term immature must be included in the designation of the brandy. While the age is not carried in the label, brandies are normally aged from three to eight years.

The distillate is reduce to about 102 proof soft water and place in 50 gallon white oak barrels for aging a small amount of caramel (the only addictive allowed) may be added for coloring at the time of barreling.

The most important category of brandy is fruit brandy, distilled soley from the juice or mash of whole, sound, ripe fruit or from standard grape, citrus or other fruit wine. When brandy is derived exclusively from one variety of fruit, it is designated by the name of such fruit. However, a fruit brandy derived exclusively from grapes may be designated as brandy without further qualification. Unless the product is specifically identified, the terms Brandy always means grape Brandy and is, therefore, a distillate obtained from grape wine Most brandies are 84 proof