Discover South African Brandy

History of Brandy in South Africa

The word brandy (brandywine) is derived from the Dutch word “brandewijn”, meaning burnt or distilled wine. The Dutch used distillation as a method of preserving wine aboard their ships. Indeed, a tot of brandy was offered to the first man on board to sight land, leading to calls of “Land Ahoy” many days before the vessels actually docked.

The first brandy in South Africa was distilled aboard the Dutch ship de Pijl, anchored in Table Bay harbour in 1672. The assistant cook succeeded in transforming two leaguers (1164 litres) of Cape wine into “three ankers (126 litres) of delicious brandy.

Today, South African brandy is acknowledged to be the world’s finest. Comprehensive legislation and a proud tradition ensure that our brandy is of the highest quality. The title of Worldwide Best Brandy at the International Wine and Spirits competition has been awarded to a South African brandy 15 times in the past 20 years.

Distilling Process

Brandy production is a delicate and complicated process. South African law demands that brandy be made from the highest quality wine, which is then distilled twice in copper potstills and aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years.

PRODUCTION DIAGRAM

Classes of Brandy



POTSTILL


100% potstill brandy. The minimum alcohol content is 38% ABV.


VINTAGE


Potstill brandy blended with matured wine spirit. The minimum alcohol content is 38% ABV.


BLENDED


Potstill brandy blended with unmatured wine spirit. The minimum alcohol content is 43% ABV.

CONTENTS

100% potstill brandy30-80% potstill brandy
20-70% matured wine spirit
minimum 30% potstill brandy and unmatured wine spirit

MINIMUM
MATURATION

min. 3 yearsmin. 8 yearspotstill brandy min. 3 years

MINIMUM
ABV

38%38%43%

BEST
ENJOYED

Neat, with ice or mineral waterNeat, with ice or mineral waterMix with ginger ale, fruit juice or cola

POTSTILL

100% potstill brandy. The minimum alcohol content is 38% ABV.

VINTAGE

Potstill brandy blended with matured wine spirit. The minimum alcohol content is 38% ABV.

BLENDED

Potstill brandy blended with unmatured wine spirit. The minimum alcohol content is 43% ABV.

Tasting Experience

  • Always taste brandy from a clean brandy snifter or an ISO wine tasting glass.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to add a dash of still water when tasting brandy. Be sure to use pure, unchlorinated water.
  • Don’t swirl your glass like you would when tasting wine.
  • Don’t warm the brandy – it should be tasted at room temperature.
  • Always taste brandy from a clean brandy snifter or an ISO wine tasting glass.Start nosing from about 5cm from the top of your glass. Now move slowly down.
  • Take a small sip and swirl around your mouth. The intensity of the alcohol will diminish after a few seconds and the rich, complex flavours will come to the fore.
  • It’s always fun to have the brandy aroma wheel on hand to help you identify the flavours you experience.
  • Always taste and enjoy responsibly.

Quick Facts

The top five things you don’t know about South African brandy.

  • There are three styles - blended, vintage and potstill.
  • SA brandy is the world’s finest. We win the major trophies most of the time.
  • Brandy is made from the highest quality wine - mostly chenin blanc and colombar.
  • Our potstill brandies are double distilled in copper potstills and matured in oak barrels for at least three years.
  • Blended brandies are trending on the cocktail scene.

The Brandy Aroma Wheel

The brandy aroma wheel matches the taste flavours of some foods, fruits and spices with those commonly found in brandy. Use it as a handy checklist for your sensory pleasure.

Hall of Fame

2018 Veritas Award Winners:

Double Gold medals went to KWV 10 Year Barrel Select Potstill Brandy; KWV 12 Year Barrel Select Potstill Brandy; KWV 15 Year Alambic Blend Potstill Brandy; KWV XO 20 Year Potstill Brandy; KWV Imoya Fine Potstill Brandy; Nuy Copper Potstilled Brandy; Richelieu Vintage Brandy 10 Years; Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy 12 Years; Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy 15 Years; Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy 20 Years; and, Van Ryn’s Viceroy Potstill Brandy 10 Years.

2018 Michelangeo International Wine and Spirit Award Winners:

Double Gold medals were awarded to KWV’s Heritage Cognac XO NV and Imoya Cognac NV. Gold medals went to 100 Reserve Premium Brandy NV (Oude Molen Distillery); Boplaas 15 Year Old Potstill Brandy NV; Drie Berge 3 Year and 5 Year brandies; Southern Cape Vineyards’ Joseph Barry; VS Cape Brandy NV, Joseph Barry VSOP Cape Brandy NV, Joseph Barry XO Cape Brandy NV and Ladismith Cape Brandy NV;  KWV’s 12, 15 and 20 NV as well as its 5 Year Potstill Brandy NV and Laborie Alambic NV; Nuy Potstill Brandy NV; and, Oude Molen VSOP Cape Brandy NV.

We are the Champions