Brandy Gran Duque de Alba is a wine spirit. Its raw material product of the distillation of good, well-balanced wines and its ageing process the same as used to produce Sherry: a complex “dynamic” system known as "criaderas" and "soleras" which is exclusive to the Region.
This system basically involves the storage of casks distributed in separate rows one placed on top of the other, each of which is made up of approximately the same number of casks (known as “butts” in Jerez). The bottom row of casks is named the solera and contains the oldest Gran Duque de Alba, then following up the rows in order of age comes the first criadara and above this the second criadera and so on. When brandy is to be bottled it is taken from the bottom solera row – the same quantity taken from each butt and never more than a third of the total content – in an operation known as the “saca”. The quantity of brandy taken from the solera is then replenished with the same quantity taken from the first criadera above, and this in turn with brandy from the second criadera and so on. This process is known as the "rocio" and is what enables us to ensure that the consumer always enjoys a Gran Duque de Alba brandy of the same taste, aroma, colour and identical quality. All of this consequence of the perfect homogenization achieved by this system, as opposed to the “static” system of vintages in which wines of the same brand vary in terms of quality according to the vintage year.
The importance of wood is fundamental to the process of ageing Gran Duque de Alba brandies. Not only because the butts are made of American oak – the most suitable given its porosity and ability to expand – but more specifically due to the fact that it has previously contained some of our extraordinary Sherry.
Depending on the type of sherry which it has been used to age, the cask will confer particular and unique characteristics upon the brandy: “Dry Sack 15 Years” oloroso for GDA, ‘Don Guido’ Pedro Ximénez for GDA XO and ‘Dos Cortados’ Palo Cortado for GDA Oro. Brands of Williams & Humbert which have received international awards and have a certified age of over twenty years as guaranteed by the Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Regulating Council.
Time passes slowly within the walls of Bodegas Williams & Humbert where the American oak butts which contain our Gran Duque de Alba brandies rest in silence. GDA is aged for a period of 10 years, GDA XO for 15 years and GDA Oro for 20 years. These Brandies combine a complexity of flavours and aromas which only time is able to combine in such a harmonious way.
Time allows our range of Gran Duque de Alba brandies acquire unique tones, wisdom, dignity, splendour…