Spirited Sundays: Stravecchio Branca

Today’s post is about Stravecchio Branca, an Italian brandy that is as ubiquitous as any other brand in the country.  Literally every single bar in Italy has a bottle of Stravecchio on the shelf. It comes from the same company that owns so many other brands such as Fernet Branca, the Fratelli Branca Distilleries yet so few in the US talk about Stravecchio. The company was founded in 1845 in Milan. Bernardino Branca invented Fernet-Branca, a bitter that made history. He started his company in his home and eventualy bought a warehouse in Corso di Porta Nuova in Milan. The company is huge and has a very interesting history. They have a museum and a Branca Academy where they have masterclasses. Today though, I am just concentrating on Stravecchio.

The brandy is a blend of spirits aged between 3 and 10 years in different oak barrels. I haven’t visited but apparently, they have one barrel that is the biggest cask in Europe, made  in 1892. Each batch of brandy spends some time in this huge cask which allows for consistency in the brand. The original huge barrel always has brandy in it so each new brandy barrel has some of the original “botte madre.” The top it up much in the way the solera system works.

In terms of the taste of the brandy itself, it is a lovely amber color with a wonderful bouquet of dried fruit, apricots and dates on the nose. It also has a touch of sweetness, herbs and vanilla on the palate. At 38% alcohol, it is a very nice drink on a winter evening.  I am definitely going to try to visit on my next trip to Milan.

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