“Conceived in secret, nurtured with love, laboured over for decades.”
The 1962 – 7 Cellars Brandy is an inspiration to those who have followed in the footsteps of the Pioneers who had steadfastly set out to produce the best brandy on Earth. The high standards set 60 years ago is the reason we have a wine industry today that is the envy of the world.
Everything the ‘Magnificent Seven” did for making the best brandy in the world had a purpose. It was as if they had been raised in the Grand Champagne region of Cognac itself. Varieties like Albany Surprise, a labrusca species used for fortified wines, were quickly discarded as not suitable. Baco 22A was finally selected, the same variety as grown in Armagnac. It was perfect from which to produce a world class brandy.
The Pioneers took great care to select Baco 22A grapes that were grown in areas where the soil had high clay content recognized in Cognac as a key component in making premium quality brandy. The juice was fermented with no additions and then double distilled in a special purpose built copper still. The clear, water-white eaux-de-vie was then placed in brand new French Limousin oak barrels, the same as used in Cognac, where it aged for 40 years. This long slow aging process allowed the brandy to acquire a beautiful limpid golden hue naturally, unlike most brandies that are artificially coloured with caramel. In addition the spirit developed a vanillin undertone from the oak enhancing the complexity and nuances from the delicate distillation. After 40 years in barrels the contents were blended together to produce a distinctive cuvee that was then allowed to marry for a further three years before being bottled in 2002.
Keith Stewart, Sommelier, Wine critic, Author, Journalist, Radio host was the first critic to assess the brandy after bottling. He wrote:
“This fruitful brandy tastes virile, deeply fruity, fine textured, complex. It is a brandy of superb quality for sipping and for the savouring of its warm essence of fruit and fire.
It is a brandy with a story that it tells with grace and vigour.
As good as many Cognacs, it has some of the vigour of Armagnac, but with more fruit aroma and a sustained delicacy of flavour that burns on nicely at the end.”
A hidden treasure the 1962 – 7 Cellars Brandy is now bestowed to a small group of individuals astute enough to acquire the legacy created by the few visionary pioneers of the New Zealand wine industry a generation ago.