South African brandy distillation began in 1672; Three and a half centuries later the South African brandy industry is thriving. The title of Worldwide Best Brandy at the International Wine and Spiritscompetition has been awarded to a South African brandy 15 times in the past 20 years.
But what makes our brandy so unique? Colombard, Chenin Blanc and Ugni Blanc are the varieties of grapes most widely used in Cape Brandy production, but not exclusively. With the warm South African summers, grapes are fruitier when picked, giving Cape Brandy its unique fruit-laden, complex and inviting character.
So whats what? Potstill brandy is the result of a double distillation of the base wine. Once double distilled it is aged for a minimum of three years in oak casks not exceeding 340 liter. Both French and American oak casks are used. To be called Potstill, 100% of the brandy must have been produced from a copper pot still. Potstill brandies must have at least 38% ABV.
Blended brandies consist of a mix of potstill brandies and neutral grape spirit that is produced via a six column still. Blended brandies must contain at least 30% potstill brandy.
Vintage brandies must consist of at least 30% -80% potstill brandies and a maximum of 70% grape spirit, both of which have been aged at least eight years.
Cape Brandy with a specific age statement denotes the age of the youngest brandy present in the blend, the others may be much older to add richness and character.
The terms VS, VSOP and XO are used to denote age: VS – 3 Years and older VSOP – 5 Years and older XO – 10 Years and older
In addition, South African regulations now also recognize.Estate Brandies, which are entirely produced with grapes from the Estate, on the Estate.
Are there rules involved when drinking brandy?
I would say the ‘rules’ lean more towards suggestions.
I have but one rule: Always enjoy responsibly.
Personaly I have my brandy neat and on occasion I may add a thin slice of orange or lemon. Depending on the brandy profile.
If you are in need of some good company during these cold and stormy nights have a look at the brandies below.