The old school cellar at Domaine d'Aurensan (photo courtesy of PM Spirits)

A Brandy Moment

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It feels like every year around this time I make myself a similar commitment: this holiday season we are going to take a strong position on brandy. Not only because I personally think it's delicious (and when the cold temperatures come it's a spirit I reach for frequently) but also because I firmly believe that pound for pound, even on the higher end, it is one of the best values in aged spirits, with complexity and deliciousness that is almost unrivaled for the money spent. So yet again, I’m getting on my soapbox, tightening my drum, and getting ready to shout from the rooftops: "Drink more brandy!" I hope that this collection of spirits we’ve assembled (both French and otherwise) can find a good home at your holiday festivities. They are well worth it. Oskar Kostecki

As always we cannot ship spirits out of state. Today's email is available for in-store pick-up, delivery in New York City, and shipping within New York State.

Tasting new-make spirit at Domaine d'Aurensan with the classic Armagnac still in the background.
(Photo courtesy of PM Spirits)

Domaine d'Aurensan 2009 Armagnac-Ténarèze Single Cask

This is a particularly intriguing single-cask from Domaine d'Aurensan, a tiny estate run by the Rozès family in Ténarèze. A pretty standard 420 liter Gascon oak cask was filled in 2009 (from grapes from the same vintage, a warm and ripe year) and aged without topping-off for 10 years, upon which the barrel yielded only 110 liters of spirit. Bottled at a cask strength of 43%, there was some crazy evaporation that must have happened here, and it produced an Armagnac that is beguiling. Rich, full, and phenomenally viscous, the nose explodes with raisin, sultana, prune, walnut, dried cherries, dry spice, vanilla, nutmeg, and leather. The palate is complex, introducing more spice, nuttiness, and an herbal, slightly menthol character. An insanely long finish. It feels much older than the 10-year age statement, but also hasn't yet developed any balsamic-y rancio character you would associate with very old brandy. It's just bold, assertive, and terribly expressive. Oskar Kostecki

  • brandy
  • 4 in stock
  • no discount
  • $124.99

Pellehaut 1989 Armagnac Ténarèze Ugni Blanc

This Armagnac shows a vibrant orange color with hints of caramel. Tastes mature, but even after 30 years in cask there is a grippy quality and some citrus-toned fruit. This is an excellent introduction to vintage Armagnac and a fabulous value.  John Rankin

  • brandy
  • 12 in stock
  • no discount
  • $84.99

Chateau de Briat 2000 Bas Armagnac Bacco

The 2000 Bacco fully exudes the traditional Château de Briat house style: decadent, yet complex and structured, with a focus on new oak. Again, from the diary of John Rankin: On the nose it is luscious with sweet caramel, the chewy soft kind, and orange zest rising from the glass. On the palate it is rich and silky – very drinkable – with a touch of spice and a sugary milk chocolate finish. With this flavor profile and the château’s affinity for new oak, this would be a fantastic crossover spirit for Bourbon lovers! Tim Gagnon

  • brandy
  • 9 in stock
  • no discount
  • $54.99

Fanny Fougerat 2010 Cognac Petite Champagne Le Laurier d'Apollon

Fanny Fougerat's family have been growing grapes and distilling Cognac for four generations, and as is custom for many small growers, selling to the big houses. She is the first in her family to start to bottle independently, and we are thrilled to finally see them stateside. This bottling is a single cask of 2010 Cognac from Petite Champagne, distilled on the heavy lees, leading to a broad and muscular spirit. With notes of stone fruit, baked apple, as well as a more savory aspect (think black tea leaves and nutmeg) this is an energetic Cognac perfect for a cold winter evening. Oskar Kostecki

  • brandy
  • 5 in stock
  • no discount
  • $64.99

Fanny Fougerat Extra Old Cognac Cedre Blanc

Fanny Fougerat bottles Cognac just the way we like it: straight from the cask with no filtration, without any additions of sugar or caramel, and a higher proof than the ubiquitous 40% abv. This is another spectacular single cask, aged for about 18 years and bottled at 44% abv. The age of the spirit makes itself known, with notes of oak spice, vanilla, and cigar box, though there is still quite a bit of freshness to the fruit, with apricot, citrus, and orange (a hint of burnt orange peel as well). A well-balanced, well-aged Cognac from a producer who will only garner more attention. Oskar Kostecki

  • brandy
  • 3 in stock
  • no discount
  • $99.99

Through the Grapevine Cognac Fin Bois Remi Landier Lot 73

I am astounded by the freshness that this old Cognac carries. A single cask from the outlying appellation of Fin Bois, this was distilled in 1973 by the Landier family from grapes grown in clay-limestone soils. It has a beautiful, lifted aromatic profile, with notes of citrus, tangerine, orange zest, orange marmalade, white flowers, apple, pear, and darker aromas of plum and toffee. There is a hint of rancio and baking spice, and while you can feel the age of the spirit, the roundness it carries on the palate and its phenomenal length, there is also a vibrancy to the fruit character that I've never experienced in a Cognac this old. A truly unique expression. Bottled at 47.8% ABV. Oskar Kostecki

  • 6 in stock
  • no discount
  • $264.99

Through The Grapevine Francois Voyer Lot 93

The Chauchet-Voyer family has been farming vineyards and making Cognac in the limestone-rich terroir of Grande Champagne for the past five generations. This spirit comes from a single barrel filled in 1993 and aged for 25 years. Distilled on the lees, this is a powerful and broad-shouldered Cognac, with great density on the palate and notes of baked apples, poached pears, leather, baking spice, apricot marmalade, dried cherries, a hint of forest floor and balsamic. A beautiful expression of the richness that Cognac can deliver without the use of artificial color, added sugar, or boisé. Bottled at 45.9%. Oskar Kostecki

  • brandy
  • 2 in stock
  • no discount
  • $199.99

Jean Grosperrin 1989 Cognac de Collection L'Isle d'Oleron

This beautiful single cask of Cognac comes from the collection of Jean Grosperrin, negociant extraordinaire and champion of pure spirits; no added sugar, boisé (essentially liquid tannin, made by reducing oak chips in boiling water) or other additives. This is a 25-year-old Cognac with grapes coming from the sandy soils of the island of Oleron, off the west coast of France. The island was once renowned for its production, but years of increased tourism have resulted in only a handful of growers remaining. Rich but elegant, this cask balances still fresh flavors of fruit (apple, pear, pear skin) with baking spice, sultana, almonds, marzipan, and a slight salted caramel quality. This Cognac is fully evolved, with unmistakable savory, umami notes of rancio on the long and complex finish, but without sacrificing any of the lift and freshness. This is an utterly charming single cask of pure and authentic spirit with lots of soul. Perfect as an after dinner drink, or a gift for the brandy lover in your life. Oskar Kostecki

  • brandy
  • 2 in stock
  • no discount
  • $199.99

Huard 2002 Calvados Le Pertyer Hors d'Age

Our Chambers Street selection of Calvados was distilled in 2002 and was aged in a barrel that previously held cider and Pommeau (cider and Calvados blended together). From the diary of John Rankin: The barrel that we bought has candied apple and toffee cream flavors and is surprisingly juicy and fruit-forward, even with a fair amount of age and alcohol percentage. It shows the influence of Pommeau and cider more than barrel, along with richness and a long finish of exotic citrus and dark-toned flowers. Tim Gagnon

  • brandy
  • 6 in stock
  • no discount
  • $74.99

Groult, Roger 6 Year Old Calvados Pays d"Auge Kriek Cask Finish

Cantillon is perhaps the most famous producer of Belgian lambic (wild fermentation, sour) ales in the world, and their Kriek, a maceration and barrel aging of lambic and cherries, is a prized acquisition for  beer lovers across the world. This 6 year Calvados exhibits all the qualities of the fine apple brandies of the region, with wonderful notes of baking spice, apple peel, baked apple, and hints of caramel. Bottled at a slightly higher proof than usual, with a bit more punch. There is also the other aspect, with the Kriek cask adding a note of red fruit (cherry and currant) and raisins, especially on the finish. A charming and very fun bottle, which continues to delight every time I drink it.Oskar Kostecki

  • brandy
  • 11 in stock
  • no discount
  • $82.99

Cornelissen, Frank 2011 Grappa Munjebel (bottled in 2019) 375ml

For Frank, Munjebel is a showcase of Etna’s noble grape: Nerello Mascalese. In contrast to the grappa of Contadino, the flavors are bolder, richer, and more unctuous. I found lots of red fruit and smoke tones, and, once again, although left at a hearty 60% alcohol, no burn!  Highly recommended as an example of a single producer, single variety, single vintage and all from Etna’s north slope—very unusual in the world of grappa!  JR

  • grappa
  • 7 in stock
  • no discount
  • $89.99

Capovilla Grappa di Bassano 750ml

Capovilla spirits are truly labors of love. The Bassano bottling consists of pommace from a variety of grapes from Vicenza. The secret to the rich, broad flavors is the rare still that Vittorio Gianni Capovilla uses. Called a bain-marie still, it heats the pommace at low temperatures to maintain the grape flavors and not create the offensive, alcoholic tones that mars many more commercial Grappa productions. We are extremely happy that Jan d'Amore has decided to import these spirits, and strongly recommend that Grappa and Eau-de-vie fans try them. JR

  • grappa
  • 5 in stock
  • no discount
  • $54.99

Capovilla Moscato Fior d'Arancio 375ml

This is a single variety grappa bottling featuring the wonderfully aromatic "Uva Moscota Fior d'Arancio." Vittorio Gianni Capovilla uses his rare bain-marie still to slowly distill and preserve the lively honey and citrus qualities of the grape. Grappa fans will note the extreme purity and freshness of the spirit and applaud Jan d'Amore for bringing it to the American market. John Rankin

  • grappa
  • 7 in stock
  • no discount
  • $61.99

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Ravignan 1985 (Bottled 2018) Bas-Armagnac 32 years old

This is the “new” release from one of our favorite estates in Bas-Armagnac. Ravignan spares no expense in creating France’s premier brandy. French oak barrels are air-dried for a full seven years before being filled with a spirit distilled to the very low 50% alcohol. After almost 30 years the spirit reduces in strength to about 42 percent, but gains in complexity and develops a beautiful flavor of roasted hazelnuts, wood smoke and a touch of prune. Perfect for 1985 birth years! John Rankin                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The new 2018 bottling shines once again. The palate is thick and viscous, with notes of salted caramel and shaved dark chocolate transitioning to a beautiful dried fruit character of apricots, prunes and sultana. A hint of rancio peaks out from underneath the leather and wood spice, with a faint whiff of pickled ume plums and balsamic. Intense, but elegant, this is Bas-Armagnac at its finest, and one of the best values in the store. Oskar Kostecki

  • Out of Stock
  • brandy
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $139.99

Domaine Du Tertre 1997 Calvados

Of the countless wonderful spirits I've had the opportunity to taste this year, Domaine du Tertre Calvados was one of the most memorable. Creating a unique style of Calvados, Tertre is run by by two brothers, Michel and Hubert Havard, and the main focus of production at the estate is apple cider. Their excrutiatingly tiny batches of Calvados are distilled on a traveling single column still with 10 plates, after the apples have been fermented for over six months with all indigenous yeast. It is this long fermentation and old school production method that leads to the intense and rustic style of this Calvados. This is a single ex-Cognac cask, bottled at a cask strength of 50% abv. Flavors of baked apple, apple peel, dried orange peel, baking spices, nutmeg, mint, dried leaves, and pronounced rancio notes, forest floor, mushroom, and balsamic all interweave on the beautifully complex palate. A fresh apple quality emerges on the long, long finish. This is an absolute powerhouse Calvados, and a perfect ending to many a satisfying meal. Oskar Kostecki

  • Out of Stock
  • brandy
  • 0 in stock
  • $224.99