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Further Adventures in Brandy

Jack Bettridge
Posted: April 1, 2011

(continued from page 1)

The importer says he extensively researched the distillers of the area and decided on Sánchez Romate Hermanos, one of the few remaining wineries in the Jerez Designation of Origin that is still in the hands of local owners. Manso says his decision was based on two factors: the quality of brandy made there, plus the eagerness of the distiller to work within his demanding standards.

"I drove these guys absolutely insane because I obsessed about the quality," Manso says. His obsession extended not only to the liquid, but to the packaging. He insisted on special printing, quality bottling and that the stopper not be made of pulverized cork.

Before he settled on his final projects, he also employed focus groups to be sure there would be a market in America for his product. "I'm an advertising guy, that's what I do."

We're glad he did. The brandy is a captivating combination of the fruity wine from where it arises and the hearty wood character it picks up from the Sherry barrels. Paired with a cigar, it smooths rough edges and coaxes out savory flavors.

Manso & Contreras ($70, 750 ml, 40 percent alcohol) is currently available in specialty liquor stores in California. Visit www.MansoandContreras.com for stockists and further information.


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