Saturday, 9 March 2019
Brandy Lepanto Solera Gran Reserva PX 36%, González Byass
Deep brown tinged mahogany with copper glints fading to amber with a trace of green at the rim.
Rich and clean with distinct wood notes of old oak and vanilla along with hints of walnut and fruit notes from the PX like raisin, prune, dried fig and faint traces of orange zest and rancio. The PX fruit is very well integrated and not overpowering but certainly noticeable and there is also a very slight brown sugar sweetness. Very elegant.
Big and rich with a certain caramel/brown sugar sweetness and all that dried fruit flavour which balance out any spiritiness, and some very slight oak tannin undertones. There is a gentle texture, probably from the PX and the oak, and a very long dry finish with a nice twist of rancio at the end.
Aged for twelve years in ex Tio Pepe butts and a further three years (totalling 15) in butts which had previously held the firm´s wonderful Pedro Ximénez VORS Noé for at least 30 years, this is the last remaining brandy to be distilled in Jerez. It is made from Palomino grapes picked just a little earlier than they would be for Sherry, giving a must of a little over 10% alcohol and a little more acidity, ideal for distilling, which is done in the traditional "Charentes" style copper pot stills which give holandas of the highest quality. The firm began distilling in the 1850s and the Lepanto solera dates back to 1864 after new larger stills were installed by Scottish distilling technician, a Mr Thomson. They have been replaced since then of course. This is one of three versions of Lepanto: the original at twelve years old and the two cask-finished versions: OV (Oloroso Viejo) and this PX, both with an average age of 15 years.