Emilio Lustau (Brandy and Vermouth)
Widely considered one of the finest producers of sherry in Jerez, Emilio Lustau’s bodega dates back to 1896, and began exporting in the 1950s. Much of the Spanish brandy and vermouth (“vermut”) tradition is tied to sherry production, and Lustau brings their winning combination of superior quality and approachable pricing to bear on both categories as readily as sherry.
Often, the finest aged brandies are distilled from the most neutral base wine, putting the aging process at the forefront of the palate. Rather than using the more characterful local palomino, Brandy de Jerez is made from the grape airen, grown in La Mancha. The base wine is single-distilled, in a short column similar to those found in Armagnac. Just as with their sherry, Lustau uses the solera system to integrate very old brandy with the fresh vibrance of younger spirits. The casks in which the brandy ages are 500-liter American oak butts, previously used for sherry, which contributes extra nutty, warm, and complex flavors.
This same brandy, unaged, is used to fortify wine from the bodega for their range of vermut, exemplary of the Spanish style in their blanco, and of Lustau’s creativity in their unique vermut rosé.