Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Brandies We Need More Of
As regular readers know, this is the Golden Age of Brandy. There are amazing brandies out there that are reasonably priced, but they are still mostly limited to a few markets. Here are three French brandies I'd like to see more of in more places in the US.
1. Armagnac. I've been raving about Armagnac for the past couple of years, but the amazing bottles from small growers are mostly going to just a few US locations like K&L, D&M and Astor Wines. In most of the rest of the country, even in many great liquor stores, there's not much in the way of great Armagnac except for the Darroze bottlings (which are very good). This is likely due to the nature of the industry. Most of the best stuff comes from small grower/producers who don't always have huge stocks. Then again, there are a lot of small grower/producers so hopefully we will have a chance to get more and more.
2. Calvados. This stunning apple/pear brandy from Normandy may be the most underrated spirit around right now. One of the best spirits I had last year was a Calvados. While Camut is excellent Calvados which is fairly available, there are around 200 Calvados producers, very few of which make it to the US. I'm planning on drinking a lot of Calvados this year, but I'd love to see more of the good stuff.
3. Marc. Marc is French pomace brandy, made from the leftovers from wine making (skins, pulp, seeds, etc.). It is similar to Italian grappa except that where grappa is usually unaged, some marks are aged in oak (and others in glass or stone). It is made in various regions which are included in the name of the spirit (e.g. Marc de Bourgogne from Burgandy or Marc de Champagne, etc.). Marc is funky, funky stuff with all kinds of crazy earthy, musty notes. I've only had a few but would love to try more.
Hopefully more retailers will figure out that brandy is a happening spirit and start giving us some variety.