These Germain-Robin brandies — crafted in California — showed up unannounced, in minimally-marked sample vials, with no additional information about their manufacture or sale. [UPDATE: Notes have been found, and info below has been updated. These are new products.]
They are reviewed here without further knowledge — I’m unclear whether the first brandy is the same as Germain-Robin’s long-running XO, and have no additional information on when these brandies may be available, or at what prices (though neither tastes particularly expensive).
Alcohol levels are both 80 proof.
Germain-Robin Craft-Method Brandy – Rocky, with an Armagnac character to it. Earth and olive characters are strong, with muted fruit below. Seems to lack life, with little more than a big, boozy alcohol character. Opens up with time in the glass, at least a bit. This is a revised blend of the company’s Fine brandy, composed of Colombard, Riesling, and Zinfandel brandies, most five years old, with some 10-year brandy in it. C / $48
Germain-Robin Coast Road Reserve Brandy – Has more character to it at least, with better sweetness and more bracing fruit — candied oranges and a touch of chocolate character. Still roughly made, but considerably more enticing with some rather intriguing raw sugar character in the finish. Composed of old Pinot Noir, Colombard, Grenache, and Ehrenfelser (a Riesling-Sylvaner cross), with eaux up to 15 years old. B / $72