Spanish brandy is perhaps the oldest distilled spirit in Europe, dating to approximately 900 AD in Andalucia. By the late 16th century, it was being produced in the Jerez region. It is produced largely from Airen (90%) along with Palomino. A lot of the Brady de Jerez is distilled in Tomollosa in both alquitara
(pot stills) and continuous stills.
Holandas are pot-stilled eaux-de-vie
that are distilled to between 120 - 140?, allowing more congeners and character. Every Spanish brandy must at least half holandas
, and may be entirely composed of this type of spirit. There are also maximum levels of congeners defined by law. Aguardientes
are eaux de vie
distilled out to 140? - 170?, and Destillados de vinos are distilled to 170? - 190?. Maturation
Solera brandies must receive 6 months aging, and be composed of at least 50% Holandas, Solera Reserva
brandies must receive 2 years minimum aging and be at least 75% Holandas
, and Solera Gran Reserva
must receive 3 years minimum aging, and be all Holandas.
The solera (with a lower case "s") is a system of fractional blending composed of a number of casks of maturing eaux-de-vie. The law states that no more than one third of the volume of any cask may be removed at one time. One third of the spirit is removed from the oldest barrels (also called the Solera, with a capital "S"). This is replaced with spirit from the next-oldest barrels, which are called the first Criadera
(or "nursery" in Spanish). The first Criadera
is topped up with spirit from the second Criadera
, which are filled from the third Criadera
, which are filled with "new make". The casks in the solera are ex-Sherry casks, either those of European oak that have been used for Oloroso or PX, or those of American oak that have been used for Fino.
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