Make mine a brandy
Did you know that South African brandy is considered to be among the finest in the world, consistently doing us proud at international awards shows?
One of the reasons our brandy has developed a reputation for excellence is because of the stringent laws governing distillers: according to legislation, South African brandy must be matured in French oak barrels of 340l (or smaller) for at least three years. Compare this to other countries, where there’s no restriction on barrel size and the liquid is required to mature for only six months to two years.
In South Africa, brandy is classified according to three categories: potstill (with minimum 38% ABV); vintage, which sees the potstilled brandy mixed with matured wine spirit; and blended, where the potstilled brandy is blended with unmatured wine spirit.
Here’s what else you need to know:
- The best way to taste brandy is in a clean brandy snifter.
- The rules for brandy tasting are different to wine tasting. Brandy isn’t swirled in the glass, for example; nor should it be warmed. It is, however, acceptable to add a dash of pure, unchlorinated water to your brandy.
- Start by inhaling the brandy aromas from a distance of around 5cm. Now, take a sip and swirl it around your mouth. Don’t worry if the first taste seems a little harsh: it’s characteristic for this to happen, but the initial flavours quickly become less intense as other aromas develop.
- Some of the most common flavours present in brandy include spicy notes like cinnamon and nutmeg; mint and buchu; fruity flavours like fresh or dried peach, grape and citrus; muscat and floral notes. Your brandy may also seem a bit woody (look out for notes of vanilla and oak); toasted and nutty, or sweet, with flavours of chocolate, toffee or honey.
The best way to enjoy superior postill brandy is neat or on the rocks, but you can always add a dash of ginger ale, fruit juice and cola to enhance the enjoyment of your blend.
Visit your nearest Spot On, Overland or Liquor Zone outlet to stock up on your favourite brandy.