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Germain-Robin XO California Alambic Brandy (750ml)

SKU #680037 94 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark This bold, complex brandy resounds with chocolate, dried cherry and spice on nose and palate. Each sip opens with delicate ginger, pink peppercorn and cinnamon, underscored by drying leather, walnut and unsweetened chocolate. Apricot leather lends a mouthwatering quality to the finish. (KN) Inner quote mark (5/2021)

K&L Notes

95 points, Ultimate Spirits Challenge Top 100 of 2020* This bottling from local Mendocino craft distillers Germain-Robin displays astonishing quality in the classic XO tradition. It is very deep and rich, with hints of vanilla and dark chocolate. It spent eleven years in small Limousin barrels, and a high proportion of the brandy is distilled from Pinot Noir grapes. The finish is astoundingly long and full." Germain-Robin has made history by distilling non-traditional grape varietals for brandy. It turns out grapes like Pinot Noir, Riesling, Viognier, and Sémillon make remarkable distillate when treated properly. GR has spent the better part of four decades tuning the traditional Cognac production process specifically for these varietals. Upon tasting their Pinot Noir distillate in 1983, Hubert Germain-Robin remarked it was the finest distillate he had ever tasted, not an empty claim from a man whose family has produced Cognac since the late 1700s. The XO bottling has been predominantly (70% give or take) Pinot Noir ever since. Distilled exclusively on Pruhlo Charentais pot stills and aged in Limousin French oak. For brandy lovers of any kind, Germain-Robin's XO is simply a must have bottle defined by an incredible interplay of fruit and oak and age. A brandy that is paradoxically both powerful and delicate at the same time. Key blending components in the current bottling are Pinot Noir distilled between 1994-1998, Pinot Noir from 2005-2009, and Sémillon from 2000.


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Price: $129.99

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Product Reviews:

By: Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/2/2021 | Send Email
This isn't quite the same as the Germain-Robin XO you might remember from 10 or 15 years ago, but it's some dang good brandy. Fig and damson plum come out of the glass--sticky but not cloying. The oak asserts itself, but then richer fruits come back to the foreground accented by cigar box, citrus zest, and burnt sugar. The palate reminds me of cherry-stuffed crepes I used to get at my favorite Colorado breakfast spot with an orange flambé flare. Assertive oak shows the brandy's boldness and age without undermining its grace.​

By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/2/2021 | Send Email
It would be a singular feat to make brandy that has a legitimate claim to rivalling Cognac in quality. To be able to argue that your bigger contribution is providing an augmentation to (and perhaps an improvement upon) a centuries old tradition is another thing altogether. While Cognac will always hold a special place in my heart and my liquor cabinet, so too will Germain-Robin. Unbound by tradition and appellation law, the willingness to take Cognac techniques and tweak them to the finest wines California has to offer has resulted in a phenomenal brandy unlike anything available in any other region of the world. One nosing of the XO and it's hard to argue with the results. Deeply intense cherry and apple play perfectly with fresh Madagascar vanilla bean. A dusting of cocoa powder adds both savor and sweetness. Tobacco leaf and Moroccan mint provide an herbal complexity that entices me to taste the elixir but also could happily freeze me in the nosing stage for an hour. Once you actually taste it, you are trapped in an endless cycle of pouring, nosing, tasting, and savoring until you've reached your limit or the bottle is empty. Harmony comes to mind. It's powerful, mouth-coating, and assertive. But it's also delicate, lively, fresh, lithe, and zippy. It does not overpower. It's basically the perfect ending to an evening as it's robust enough to enjoy on its own but won't leave you feeling heavy and bogged down like some sweeter tipples. It's difficult to taste this and not realize you're consuming a part of California history, inextricably linked to a place and time when great creators and serendipity worked together in unprecedented ways.

By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/19/2015 | Send Email
The king of California spirits. There's nothing else out there this good and this old with this type of heritage and history. A must try before you die type of bottle.

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