Brandy is produced through the distillation of wine and its subsequent aging in oak casks: aging can be done using the traditional method of soleras and criaderas, in which the spirit is continuously racked, or by static aging
The distilled product must remain in oak casks for at least one year, unless the casks are less than 1,000 liters in size, in which case the minimum is limited to six months. Aging can be done using the traditional method of soleras and criaderas, in which the spirit is continuously racked, or by static aging. Once it leaves the cask and before bottling, it must contain and reach the consumer with a minimum alcoholic strength of 36% vol. No other alcohols or flavorings are added, except those from the traditional production methods. Caramel may only be added for color. It is customary to drink it neat, often after a good meal. However, it can also be enjoyed on the rocks and even mixed with other drinks. Its importance in the Spanish economic panorama is evident from the fact that it represents the largest volume of Spanish distillate exports.
History of brandy
Wine-based aguardiente originated in the 12th century, but its consumption would not become popular until the 14th century. As for brandewijn in particular, it was the shipment of wine for distillation to the Netherlands that gave rise to its name, which literally means 'burnt wine'. Following the success of brandies produced in Europe, Spanish varieties began to be produced, finding a market in the British Isles from the 18th century onwards before becoming the current Spanish brandy.
Types of brandy
In Spain, the main producing regions of this beverage are Jerez and Penedés, both with Protected Geographical Indication. The Brandy de Jerez designation refers to those spirits whose distillation takes place in alquitaras and whose aging takes place only in the Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, or Sanlúcar de Barrameda districts and in oak casks previously filled with one of the types of Sherry Wine. In reference to the aging time, there are the following classifications: Solera, which is aged for more than six months; Solera Reserva, which is aged for more than one year; and Solera Gran Reserva, which is aged for more than three years.
The geographical indication of the Penedés originates from the Catalan territory thus named, which includes a large number of municipalities in the provinces of Barcelona and Tarragona.
The main producing regions of brandy in Spain are Jerez and Penedés, and both are under a Protected Geographical Indication.