St Remy

Review: St. Remy Authentic XO French Brandy by Jason Hambrey

St+Remy+XO.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
French Oak, >10 years
Recipe
Blend of different red and white grapes
Distiller St. Remy (Nantes, France)

This brandy, from the largest French brandy brand in the world, is made from red and white grapes sourced from throughout France (Burgundy, Champagne, Rhone, Loire, etc.). It is distilled in a column still and aged in French oak barrels.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2018

The nose is quite rich, with lots of dried fruit and spice. It’s much oakier and richer than the VSOP, at the same time, it is a bit less vibrant. Raisins (Thompson and golden), dried currants, gooseberries, black currant jam, marmelade, candied orange peel, white pepper, vanilla, clove, and a bit of dry-ness on the nose. There’s almost a bit of fruity burnt-caramel on the nose, like jam that has been boiling to the point of just beginning to burn. The palate is sweet, with orange blossom honey, green tea, dried apricot, lots of dried fruit, and lots of baking spice – it follows much from the nose, but is surprisingly lighter than the aromas on the nose. It has a nice bit of tannin to it as well, which gives it some nice grip, but also wouldn’t lead me to having three of these in a row. The finish is slightly nutty, with almond and lots of raisin and a touch of apple. Honey and cinnamon, too. Medium bodied: it’s not a light brandy, nor a really heavy one.

This is a great launching pad for starting to explore Armagnac and cognac. With all the interest in heavily sherried scotch, I’m a bit surprised that more aren’t exploring good brandy.

This is a common pick for me for cocktails or to put on my Christmas cake.

Assessment: Recommended.

Value: Great value for $30.


Review: St. Remy Authentic VSOP French Brandy by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
French Oak, >4 years
Recipe
Blend of 10 grapes (see below)
Distiller St. Remy (Nantes, France)

St. Remy is quite available, good, and cheap - it is a French Brandy, so, although it isn't from the region of Cognac or Armagnac, it is still in the same category - but cheaper because it doesn't have the prestigious regional designation. It's also easy to drink and fairly approachable - when I was first getting into brandy I did a side by side of this and Courvoisier VSOP cognac side by side and came out liking this one more, so if you're interested in exploring other spirits I recommend it. The XO is also worth a try too - it is even better and very similarly priced.

St. Remy sources wines from all over France to distill into their products, and they use a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gamay, Ugni Blanc, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon's. They distill twice in a column still (though they use copper pots sometimes too), and mature in small french oak barrels. And they've been doing it for a while - since 1886.

I often make Christmas Cake (i.e. traditional fruitcake), and it is doused with this stuff usually - it does the trick nicely, and I usually have a brandy alexander every other week when I am re-dousing the cake. Also highly recommended...


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2016

Fresh, fruity, and lightly spicy. Very vibrant. White grape, nutmeg, clove, cardamom – and sweet smelling, too. The palate is very bright and fruity, with some underlying tannin from the oak. Slight spices and nuts emerge on the finish. Very clean – really it’s quite nice, though not overly complex.

Value: This is decent stuff, and not expensive, so it fits in the average-high range.