Lepanto Gran Reserva Brandy hails from Jerez, the Spanish city that’s known for producing notable wines and sherries. And it comes from Gonzalez Byass, the brand best known for its sherries. But in this case, we’ve got a brandy made from 100% Palomino grapes and aged for 12 years using the Solera system. The brandy is first aged in Tio Pepe Fino Sherry barrels for nine years and then aged for three more years in barrels that previously held Matusalem sherry. The result is a clean, dry brandy with lots of oak and wine notes. And since it’s just now available in the US market, we’re taking it for a spin.
On the nose, Lepanto Gran Reserva is full of caramel, vanilla, mild fruit and leather. The palate is medium-bodied and tannic, with flavors of toasted almonds, spices, raisins and grape skin. It finishes smooth, dry and warm.
Lepanto Gran Reserva Brandy is a different drink entirely than many of the fruit-forward French brandies on the market. In some ways, it drinks more like an aged rum than a typical brandy, but the sherried fruits and nuts remind you that you are, in fact, sipping on some Spanish brandy. It’s a solid effort, and it’s a nice change of pace from the bottles of Cognac, Calvados and Armagnac we tend to break out this time of year.
– 40% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★