Some say Craft Distillers Master Distiller Hubert Germain-Robin and his partner Ansley Coale produce the finest alembic (pot-still) brandies on the planet. While there is no absolute proof of this assertion, there is certainly ample evidence of their abiding spirit of excellence. For eight generations the Germain-Robin family produced world-class brandies in France’s Cognac region. Then, about thirty years ago, they sold their operation to the cognac-producing conglomerate Martell, and Hubert emigrated to Mendocino County to apply his family’s time-honored hand-distillation methods to the area’s best grape varietals.
Of Germain-Robin’s many exalted craft distillations over the years, one of the very finest is Anno Domini ($400). This extraordinary melange of aged brandies is made mostly from Pinot Noir, but also with just a touch of old-vine Palomino. The varietal used to produce sherry, it lends Anno Domini a soft creamy delicacy. Less than a hundred bottles of this remarkable elixir now remain.
An extraordinary specialty liqueur, Germain-Robin’s Creme de Poete ($45) began its spiritual evolution over twenty years ago as pear brandy. Over the following seasons it was rarefied with successive infusions of dried fruit essences derived from apricots, papayas and prunes. Other flavor notes and aromas were imparted via macerations of brazil nuts, macadamias, walnuts – even sandalwood. The result is a rich, deep-toned and delicate liqueur that Germain-Robin likes to call his “accumulation of ideas”.