Brandy is a spirit mostly made by distilling wine. The name comes from a Dutch word, brandewijn, which means “burned wine.” Two of the best-known and indeed best types of brandy, whose production is governed by strict rules, are Cognac and Armagnac, both from France. So, all Cognac is brandy but not all brandy is Cognac. Many wine-growing regions of the world also produce brandy, and the flavors vary according to both the types of grape used for the wine and the differing production processes. Most U.S. brandy comes from California. Brandy is also used as an ingredient in spirits such as Metaxa, a Greek spirit. A distinct type of brandy is fruit brandy, which is made from fruit juice, wine, or pulp from fruit other than grapes. Grappa, common in Italy, and the South American spirit called pisco are also types of brandy.
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You’re full of meat and pie and perhaps meat pie. Now it’s time to think of your loved ones. Were they naughty? Nice? Do they deserve a fancy tipple when the giving season arrives? For your most favored loved ones, Drinkhacker offers this collection of our favorite spirits from 2012, just a small sampling of…Read More
The pear gets minimal respect in the booze biz. Heck, even apples have high-end brandies dedicated to them — in multiple countries, no less. In comparison, pear brandies are normally unaged quickie spirits. Finding a pear spirit that’s spent time in oak is almost unheard of. Craft Distillers’ Joe Corley cares not for any of…Read More
Our friends at Domaine Select Wine Estates (which handles a lot more than wine) are on the road, “popping up” in a half-dozen cities to let their producers show off their wares. I recently dropped in on the San Francisco installment to experience a few wines that were new to me (1982 Borgogno Barolo, yes…Read More
Chile celebrates its Independence Day on September 18, and this year the country took the opportunity to revive the battle its been locked in with Peru over who originated — or makes better — the South American spirit of Pisco. Distilled from grapes, Pisco is essentially unaged (usually) brandy, though in Chile they are more…Read More
Another sold-out show this year for WhiskyFest San Francisco, and yet it didn’t feel overly crowded. I missed out on some of the whispered highlights by arriving late, when the rarities were all gone. (John Hansell has some coverage, which I hope to catch up with in coming months.) Otherwise, good times all around. While…Read More
Courvoisier is at the forefront of the taking Cognac into new markets, with brandy-and-wine blends like Courvoisier Rose. Now the company is back at it with Courvoisier Gold, a blend of Cognac and Moscato wine. This actually sounds like a great idea — the brisk orange of the Moscato enhancing the citrus notes in the…Read More
Most (myself included) think of Cognac hailing from a small region in France just north of Bordeaux. But did you know that you can make Cognac (legally) on an island off the coast of France? To be fair, Ile de Re isn’t far offshore — it’s connected to the mainland via a bridge — but…Read More
Why is there primary color squiggling all over your Hennessy? Because the company hired street artist “Futura” to graffiti up their label for a limited edition run of the Henny. You can check out both the bottle and the artist below. Just 200,000 bottles are being produced. Ahem. Inside it’s still the same Hennessy, VS-class…Read More
This new Cognac is being launched by Bacardi and endorsed by Jay-Z. The package is one of the snazziest I’ve seen in a long time, and the name, pronounced “dew-say,” is exotic enough to pique anyone’s interest. Produced by a 220-year-old Cognac house, Otard, D’usse is a premium-priced VSOP but is intended mainly as a…Read More
Here’s an oddball review: A bottle of pisco brought back from Chile (which disputes with Peru who originated this Latin spin on unaged brandy) called Los Artesanos del Cochiguaz. Los Artesanos del Cochiguaz’s Pisco is available in a variety of proof levels (not to mention a variety of other spirits). This one is bottled at…Read More