Review: Korbel California Brandy
Korbel California Brandy — made right here and aged a mere 2 years in oak barrels — is hardly the elevated brandy experience Cognac drinkers have become accustomed to, which is why this is usually sold in two sizes: 200ml and 1.75 liters, the latter of which will run you a mere 20 bucks.
It’s a harmless brandy, but nothing special, clearly doctored heavily to sweeten it into easy palatability. The nose is lightly woody but otherwise well-loaded with brown sugar and raisins, plus a rustic note that sees just a touch of raw alcohol. The palate follows suit, extremely sweet but also seeing a moderate current of underbrush, growing increasingly earthy as the finish builds. Frankly, though, there’s so much sweetness here that it’s tough for much of anything else to get through — for better or for worse. And, let’s be honest, cheap brandy can easily get a whole lot worse than this.
Korbel has also been pitching its brandy as a simple “Bubbly and Brandy” combination, in conjunction with is Prosecco. Historically a Champagne Cocktail mixes an ounce of brandy with a glass of Champagne, sugar cube, and Angostura bitters, but you can make it a two-ingredient version if you’re looking for something ultra-simple. Feel free to switch up your brands, of course.