Sherry Casks: its role in the ageing of Brandy de Jerez

December, 2021
The ageing process of brandy de Jerez in Sherry Casks, casks that have previously contained sherry wines, is one of the characteristics that makes it unique and different from the rest, but why is it so special?   Find out in this article how brandy is aged in Sherry Casks and which are the benefits they provide to the liquid.

How is the brandy ageing process in Sherry Casks?

  The Criaderas and Solera system is a process that has been characteristic of the Marco de Jerez winemaking tradition since the 18th century, which distinguishes brandies and sherries from the rest of the world.   This ageing system is a typical local system and involves a dynamic process, in which the brandy goes through different rows of casks with different ageing periods.   The highest rows of Sherry Casks are called Criaderas and contain the youngest liquid, while the row at the floor level is called Solera. The brandy moves through the different rows in a "saca y rocío" process, in which part of the liquid is removed and put into the row immediately below. In this way, the distillate is homogenised and acquires much more complex nuances. Once the brandy reaches the Solera, after the last saca, the bottling process takes place.

How do sherry wines affect brandy ageing?

  As we have mentioned in previous posts, Brandy de Jerez is only produced and aged in the Marco de Jerez region (municipalities of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Sta. María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda), and its characteristics make it unique among other types of brandies and distillates.   Brandy de Jerez stands out for its unique ageing system in Sherry Casks, the famous unique casks. These casks have contained sherry wines of the highest quality (Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso or Pedro Ximénez) before being used for ageing other liquids, giving the best nuances to the wood and modifying their organoleptic characteristics.   In this way, the casks transmit different nuances to the brandy depending on the wine that has been in the cask. For example, Sherry Casks with Fino will produce lighter brandies than those which have contained Amontillado or Oloroso. Likewise, brandies aged in casks that have contained Pedro Ximénez will be more intense and darker.    As a result, the final brandy will acquire different characteristics in terms of colour, aroma and flavour from the wines that the casks have contained.  

What do Sherry Casks provide to brandy?

  Sherry Casks are one of the cornerstones for the quality and ageing of brandy de Jerez.    As we have mentioned, the casks have contained the best sherry wines, acquiring their best nuances thanks to their porosity, and transmitting them to the brandy during its ageing. The result will be a liquid with unique organoleptic characteristics.
  All this gives our casks the status of a jewel desired by other distillates, such as the best Single Malt Whiskies in the world, which have incorporated them into their processes to make the results even better.   However, what makes our Sherry Casks unique is that apart from being part of the oldest and largest collection of the Marco de Jerez, they contain liquids such as Fundador Supremo, three Prestige expressions that have won important international awards, Fundador Triple Madera or Fundador Sherry Cask Solera, the last commitment of Fundador to the category, resulting in the Sherry Cask Collection.   As you can see, the ageing process of brandy de Jerez is more complex and special than it seems. Dive into the brandy and Sherry Casks world and take a look at our blog to find out more and keep updated with the latest news.
Sources used and linked to in this article   Denominación de Origen Brandy de Jerez. The production process. Available at: Access on 16 December of 2021.   Denominación de Origen Vinos de Jerez. La Ageing. Available at: Access on 16 December of 2021.   Denominación de Origen Vinos de Jerez. El envinado. Available at: Access on 16 December of 2021.