Review 2017-035 «Specifics» Single Grape Brandy • Folle Blanche • Vintage 2012 • Bottled in 2015 • Matured for 3-4 years in French oak casks • 41.3% Alcohol • Non-chill filtered • Natural colour • Maison Monteru (owned by Tessendier & Fils) • Pons • Charente-Maritime • France • Widely available • Price ±€30
STORY. The origins from Maison Monteru go apparently back to when a descendant of the Count of Monteru married a daughter from a cognac merchant. What is remarkable is the fact that they are one of the few brandy producers outside the Cognac and Armagnac regions. Moreover, they solely produce brandy from single grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Folle Blanche. The latter is often used in cognac and armagnac, alone or together with other grape varieties. Folle Blanche was documented for the first time to be growing in the Charente-Maritime region in 1696, and is said to produce rustic and acidic wines.
APPEARANCE. Modern and stylish design, colour of the contents appears like honey and has retained its natural colour (hooray!).
NOSE. Fresh and light fruitiness. This is very aromatic with perfumes of white wine, white grape juice, welled raisins, and grappa-esque. Mix that with some spices like white pepper and aniseed, together with some liquorice roots and tomatoes with basil. It is slightly citric, and the development goes more into the range of orange juice, lime juice and a few lemon skin scrapes. No water needed.
TASTE. Soft and slightly tangy. Again all white grape variants (squashed, distilled or dried) are present. The palate is spicier and fuller, though, with more wood juices, and hints towards armagnac or even bourbon. Develops into very aromatic white wine, floral notes, and citrus juice.
VERDICT. Interesting release, albeit light and somewhat underdeveloped. Something to put into a glass during a hot summer evening, well let’s make it a late afternoon, while sitting in the garden in the shade. These single grape brandies are also perfect for a spirit explorer, like me, to compare the different grape varieties. They also have matured versions matured in triple toasted, sauternes or sherry casks. Something to try next time! Some advice: stick your nose in the glass after some time… a quite intriguing aromatic experience.
Recommended for a hot summer afternoon.
Thanks to Norbert for the sample!
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