Full Review
Cardenal Mendoza

Cardenal Mendoza
"Carta Real" Solera Gran Reserva Brandy

Category: Spanish Brandy

Date Tasted:
Country: Spain
Alcohol: 40%
98 Points
Platinum Medal
Superlative
$100.00

Cardenal Mendoza
"Carta Real" Solera Gran Reserva Brandy

Category: Spanish Brandy

Date Tasted:
Country: Spain
Alcohol: 40%
Bronze color. Complex, smoky aromas of dark roasted nuts, baked fruits, suede, and tobacco with a satiny, crisp, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, long molasses, herbs and barks, raisin bran, and nougat finish with chewy well-integrated tannins and heavy oak. A sensationally complex and nuanced, well-aged Spanish brandy that will be great with cigars.
Tasting Info
Spirits Glass Style: Complex, fruity, smoky & spicy
Aroma Aroma: dark roasted nuts, baked fruits, suede, and tobacco
Taste Flavor: molasses, herbs and barks, raisin bran, and nougat
Smoothness Smoothness: Warming
Finish Finish: Normal
Enjoy Enjoy: neat and with cigars
Bottom Line Bottom Line: A sensationally complex and nuanced, well-aged Spanish brandy that will be great with cigars.
The Producer or Importer

Shaw-Ross International Importers

The Producer or  Importer
2400 SW 145th Ave, 2nd Floor
Miramar, FL 33027
USA
1 954-430-5020
Spanish Brandy
Spirits Glass Snifter Brandy.jpg
Serve in a Snifter
Brandy de Jerez is made by the Sherry houses centered around the city of Jerez de la Frontera in the southwest corner of Spain. Virtually all Brandy de Jerez; however, is made from wines produced elsewhere in Spain -- primarily from the Airen grape in La Mancha and Extremadura -- as the local Sherry grapes are too valuable to divert into Brandy production. Nowadays most of the distilling is likewise done elsewhere in Spain using column stills. It is then shipped to Jerez for aging in used Sherry casks in a solera system similar to that used for Sherry wine. A solera is a series of large casks (called butts), each holding a slightly older spirit than the previous one beside it. When brandy is drawn off (racked) from the last butt (no more than a third of the volume is removed) it is replenished with brandy drawn from the next butt in line all the way down the solera line to the first butt, where newly distilled brandy is added. This system of racking the brandy through a series of casks blends together a variety of vintages (some soleras have over 30 stages) and results in a speeding up of the maturation process.

Basic Brandy de Jerez Solera must age for a minimum of six months, Reserva for one year and Gran Reserva for a minimum of three years. In practice, the best Reservas and Gran Reservas are frequently aged for 12 to 15 years. The lush, slightly sweet and fruity notes to be found in Brandy de Jerez come not only from aging in Sherry casks, but also from the judicious use of fruit-based flavor concentrates and oak essence (boise).

Penedès Brandy comes from the Penedès region of Catalonia in the northeast corner of Spain near Barcelona. Modeled after the Cognacs of France and made from a mix of regional grapes and locally-grown Ugni Blanc of Cognac, it is distilled in pot stills. One of the two local producers (Torres) ages in soleras consisting of butts made from French Limousin oak, whereas the other (Mascaro) ages in the standard non-solera manner, but also in Limousin oak. The resulting Brandy is heartier than Cognac, but leaner and drier than Brandy de Jerez.

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