Let's talk about Brandy today:
Brandy is a wine distillate (acquavite) that rests for a modest or long time aging in barrels (not less than one year). The Brandy’s name derives from the Flemish word brandwjin (burnt wine, distilled wine).
It is produced in Europe, mainly in Italy and Spain, in France it takes the name of Armagnac and Cognac. Currently it can be produced in any country, where it’s possible to grow grapes.
For the Italian Brandy, it is widely used Tuscan or Romagna Trebbiano grape (in France it’s called Ugni blanc).
The important qualities that distinguish an excellent Brandy are after the raw materials. The grapes used must have high acidity, low alcohol content and low aromaticity, the Trebbiano is perfect.
After the distillation in an alembic still (continuous or discontinuous), the real magic of Brandy occurs with the passage in the cask, in Italy is usually used oak (rovere) wood.
After the aging time (from one year to seven or more) it can be bottled directly (full alcohol content or cask strength). More commonly, to soften it and give it a more intense color sugar and caramel are added; distilled water too, to hit the target of the desired alcohol content, minimum 38.5% vol.
How to taste it:
Brandy is a meditation drink, the choice of the glass is not accidental, a brandy snifter glass is used, even better the tulip glass. Warm up the glass slightly in your hands to make the aroma more intense. And never add ice!
Excellent to match it with a good dark chocolate or, after the Italian tradition, mixed with coffee (caffè corretto).
Brandy is also used in the prepare cocktails as a substitute for its French brother, Cognac.