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Gran Duque D'Alba Solera Gran Reserva Brandy
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Bodegas Williams & Humbert founded in 1877 by brothers-in-law Sir Andrew Williams and Arthur Humbert has been considered one of the world's most prestigious wine and spirits producers for more than 140 years. Located in Jerez de la Frontera, in the heart of sherry production, with vineyards spanning more than 1200 acres. Bodegas Williams & Humbert has utilized the solera system of aging, not only their sherries, but also in aging one of the oldest and most refined Brandy de Jerez lines, Gran Duque D'Alba .Gran Duque D'Alba is named for Fernando Alvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, the Grand Duke of Alba. First bottled in 1945, Gran Duque D'Alba is made from juice of Palomino and Airen grapes that are fermented and then distilled in pot stills. After distillation the spirit is aged utilizing the traditional solera method creating three marques.Gran Duque D'Alba Gran Reserva, aged 12 years by Solera, may be the most notable in the line and also serves as the base for the additional two marques.The gold-highlighted mahogany color and the complexity of the aromas - wine esters with distinctive balsamic notes - remind us of the brandy's lengthy presence in wood. The palate is medium-dry, smooth and full, with burnt undertones and hints of vanilla, followed by a long, pleasing finish.
Brandy Gran Duque de Alba was first launched in 1945. Documents in the possession of the Medina family, current owners of Bodegas Williams & Humbert, describe how the bodega's wine merchant in Madrid at that time was a great friend of the Seventh Duke of Alba, Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart y Falcf3 (father of the current Duchess of Alba), and prior to the launch of an exclusive brandy asked if he could baptize it with his name. After tasting it the aristocrat was pleasantly impressed and suggested that for such a noble product it would be far more appropriate to use the name of his ancestor the Great Duke of Alba, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, who had ennobled the House of Alba and was an important historic figure. This appears in a written document which authorizes the brandy to use the name.In 1973 a strong international campaign was launched in which numerous international visits were made to promote the brand. In addition one of the leading ceramic designers of the 20th Century, an artist of great international prestige, Antoni Cumella, was asked to design a new bottle and top.Brandy Gran Duque de Alba is a wine spirit. Its raw material product of the distillation of good, well-balanced wines and its ageing process the same as used to produce Sherry: a complex "dynamic" system known as "criaderas" and "soleras" which is exclusive to the Region.This system basically involves the storage of casks distributed in separate rows one placed on top of the other, each of which is made up of approximately the same number of casks (known as "butts" in Jerez). The bottom row of casks is named the solera and contains the oldest Gran Duque de Alba, then following up the rows in order of age comes the first criadara and above this the second criadera and so on. When brandy is to be bottled it is taken from the bottom solera row - the same quantity taken from each butt and never more than a third of the total content - in an operation known as the "saca". The quantity of brandy taken from the solera is then replenished with the same quantity taken from the first criadera above, and this in turn with brandy from the second criadera and so on. This process is known as the "rocio" and is what enables us to ensure that the consumer always enjoys a Gran Duque de Alba brandy of the same taste, aroma, colour and identical quality. All of this consequence of the perfect homogenization achieved by this system, as opposed to the "static" system of vintages in which wines of the same brand vary in terms of quality according to the vintage year.
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