40% abv / SRP $24.99
Distilled from 100% wine, Soberano is a solera-aged brandy that’s about 12 months old. The casks that make up this specific solera system are ex-sherry American oak casks.
Fragrant nose leads with a hint of wine and slight oak. Soft entry. Somewhat muted flavors, compared to the nose. Mulled wine is the star, with a touch of oak, brown sugar and vanilla playing supporting roles. Sweet, fruity medium-length finish.
Soberano is very flavorful for a young brandy. While not bad on its own, I’d prefer to use this one in a cocktail. Preferably an Old Fashioned.
Lepanto Gran Reserva
40% / SRP $55.99
Lepanto Gran Reserva brandy is also aged in a Solera system for a minimum of 12 years. According to press material, this is made from 100% Palomino grapes. The first nine years of maturation take place in fino sherry casks, followed by three years in ex-oloroso sherry casks.
A lovely bouquet on the nose. There’s a big vanilla note upfront, turning into a beautiful mix of raisins, dry wine, dark caramel and a bit of oak. The palate is equally engaging, starting with a dark fruit sweetness. Dry red wine, cloves, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean form most of the body, with some old, dry oak playing a supporting character. Overall the flavors are soft without being muted. The finish is nice and dry.
What an elegant pour! This brandy’s time in oak concentrates and mellows flavors into something wonderful. Keep this one away from mixers, and stick to neat pours.
(A sample of each of these two brandies was provided by their PR company.)