[gardeners] Re: Blackberries / Brandy

bsk (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Tue, 3 Jul 2001 08:50:30 -0500

Re: [gardeners]

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Important Facts about Brandy:

Brandy is usually distilled from wine.
In the brandy lexicon, the letter O means Old; S means Superior; V means
Very; P means Pale; and X means Extra (VSOP=Very Special Old Pale).
Cognac is the most famous of Brandies and comes only from within a
particular region of France.
Other famous brandies are Armagnac (France), Brandy de Jerez (Spain), grappa
(Italy), ouzo (Greece), kirsch (Germany), and pisco (Peru).
Information courtesy of "Knowing and Understanding Distilled Spirits" A
special educational supplement to  "Beverage & Food Dynamics."

Christian Brothers
Paul Masson Grande Amber

Brandy Product Knowledge:
Brandy is a distillate or a mixture of distillates obtained solely from the
fermented juice, mash, or wine of fruit, or from the residue thereof,
distilled at less than 190o proof in such manner as to possess the taste,
aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to the product.
The most important category of brandy is "fruit brandy," distilled solely
from the juice or mash of whole, sound, ripe fruit or from standard grape,
citrus, or other fruit wine. When brandy is derived exclusively from one
variety of fruit, it is designated by the name of such fruit. However, a
fruit brandy derived exclusively from grapes may be designated as "brandy"
without further qualification. Unless the product is specifically
identified, the term brandy always means grape brandy and is, therefore, a
distillate obtained from grape wine.
Brandy is subject to a distillation limitation of 170o proof. If distilled
over 170o proof, it must be further identified as "neutral brandy." A
minimum of two years' maturation in oak casks is required or otherwise the
term "immature" must be included in the designation of the brandy. While the
age is not carried on the label, brandies are normally aged from three to
eight years.
Brandies are produced in batch or continuous distillation systems. The pot
still or its variation is universally utilized in France. In the United
States, brandies are produced in both systems. The batch system produces a
more flavorful product; the continuous system produces a lighter, more
delicate flavor.
The history of brady can be said to be the history of distillation, because
in the dim past it was the distillation of wine in crude stills that gave
"Aqua Vitae" to the world. In the ensuing evolution, many geographical areas
of Europe and of the United States became renowned for their brandies.
Perhaps the best known and most popular brandy in the world comes from the
Cognac region of France, the Department of Charente and Charente Inferieure.
As such, it enjoys an exclusive identity, Cognac, under which no other
brandy may be labeled.
Another well-known brandy of France is Armagnac which is produced near
Concon in the Department of Gers in southern France. Armagnac is distilled
from wines made from the Piquipoul, the Colombard, Jurancon, and Meslier
grape varieties on a continuous system using two pot stills in series. The
black oaks of Gascony provide the wood for the casks which are used for
aging Armagnac. It is not uncommon to find Armagnac bottled as a vintage
brandy, i.e., the distillation from one year. Armagnac is considered to be
more heavy-bodied and drier than Cognac.
There are brandies distilled in almost every wine region of France; they are
called eau de vie, and when exported are simply referred to as French
Brandy, never as Cognac.
In the United States, California produces almost all of the grape brandy.
Generally, it is a well integrated operation - the cultivation of the
grapes, the making of the wine, the distilling, aging, bottling, and the
marketing of the brandy being done by the same firm. Distillation is usually
accomplished on a continuous, multicolumn distillation system. Of the total
brandy consumption in the United States (approximately 6.5 million gallons),
California brandies account for over 65%.
Other geographic areas in Europe and in South America are well known for
their specialty brandies. Among these are the earthy flavored Spanish
brandies, distilled from Jerez sherry wine; the fragrant, fruity Portuguese
brandies, distilled from port wine; the pleasant and flowery muscat bouquet
of Pisco brandy from Peru; kirschwasser brandy, with its almond undertone
flavor, distilled from a fermented mash of small black cherries which grow
along the Rhine Valley in Germany and Switzerland; and slivovitz, the plum
brandy which is produced in Hungary and in the Balkan countries.

aka "Ranchmama"
Okie zone 7a

Does anybody know how to make black berry brandy?

Craig Watts