Korbel Brandy


While American Brandies may not be as sought after or as popular as Cognacs from France, there are several being produced that are worth a mention and can be considered jewels in their own respect. One such brandy is Korbel by Korbel Champagne Cellars. This brandy is not only very good, it also is considerably affordable considering its quality. Korbel Champagne Cellars, located in Sonoma Valley, has over 100 years in the making of high-quality, great price champagnes and brandies. 



An Overview of Korbel Brandy

Korbel as a company is the kind of Sonoma County winery that prides in the perfection of everything it does. Its control of every step in the making of its products and its dedication can be seen in its brandies and champagnes. Korbel has been producing its brandy for more than 115 years now. The whole process starts from the picking of prime Californian brandy grapes, which are then crushed before being fermented in preparation for them to be placed in the still. It is here, in the stills, that Korbel’s American brandy is created.

It is in the blending and aging process where the true craftsmanship and care required to create a bottle of Korbel brandy can be seen. A carefully and well-thought choice of a one-time use of a Jack Daniels Whiskey barrel is what adds that interesting character of the Korbel Brandy and gives it that softer characteristic that new oak cannot accomplish. Korbel’s distillery is only able to produce small batches of brandy all at once- about 7,000 gallons. As such, the distiller carefully manages its blending tanks to ensure the perfect mixing of old and new brandies for a more consistent quality.

While you may know Korbel Brandy, don’t be baffled if you had to look twice on the shelf in the store before you found it. The company redesigned the bottle; Korbel Brandy is now packaged in a taller, much sleeker bottle with a significantly modern label that has still managed to pull off a classic feel.

Korbel Brandy

Korbel Brandy Bottling

Korbel is no doubt a great American Brandy and goes for about $20 or less; making it one of the best brandies in its category at that value.  The product line of brandies includes the XS- which is a blend of exotic ingredients like orange essence and Madagascar Vanilla, a Gold Reserve VSOP and the classic brandy that has been around since 1889 and is available everywhere.

All Korbel Brandies pack a beautiful golden hue, with a smooth palate and finish and a rich distinctive butterscotch aroma. All of their brandies are excellent to create brandy cocktails, both old and new. While Korbel’s Classic Brandy is sweeter and has a medium finish, the VSOP is warmer and distinctively packs more oak which marries brilliantly with the butterscotch and sweetened grapes.

These two brandies are ideal for the creation of cocktails like the Coffee Cocktail, the Champagne Cocktail and the Metropolitan. The XS on the other hand is a rather interesting brandy and its orange and vanilla taste stand out making it a spectacular drink in the making of classic cocktails and the more ambiguous April Shower.

Any brandy lover wants know how a specific brandy compares to the more famous brands in the world. Well, that is difficult to do. But you’d be interested to know that while Korbel Brandy is not a Cognac, it certainly is a really good brandy. Considering all factors like palate depth, availability, smoothness, flavor and pricing, Korbel most certainly tops the chart. This is a reasonably-priced brandy that is not hard to mix and is easy to down on its own- it most certainly isn’t fire water. Korbel Brandy is simply impressive and if you have space for just one mixing brandy at your bar, then this should be the brandy to stock.

Korbel Brandy: Fast Facts

Year of Establishment- 1889

Producer- Korbel California Champagne Cellars based in Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, CA

Production- Made from California Grapes and distilled in small batches

Distillation, Blending & Bottling by F. Korbel & Bros.