A man can die much bolder with Brandy.
-The Beggar’s Opera
Some say Master Distiller Hubert Germain-Robin and 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. When, about thirty years ago, they sold their operation to the cognac-producing conglomerate Martell, Hubert arrived in Mendocino County to apply his family’s time-honored hand-distillation methods to the area’s finest grape varietals.
One of Germain-Robin’s many exalted creations is called Anno Domini ($400) A blend of aged brandies made mostly from Pinot Noir but also with a touch of old-vine Palomino, the grape varietal of sherry which lends it a soft creamy delicacy. Less than a hundred bottles of this extraordinary elixir remain.
An extraordinary specialty liqueur, Germain-Robin’s sublime 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 various dried fruit essences, including apricots, papayas and prunes. Other subtle flavor notes and aromas were imparted from assorted macerations of brazil nuts, macadamias, walnuts – even sandalwood. The result is a stunningly rich, deep-toned, delicate and multifaceted liqueur that Germain-Robin likes to call his “accumulation of ideas”.