Lepanto brandy takes its name from the 16th century maritime Battle of Lepanto, a victory for Mediterranean Holy League states over Ottoman forces. This triumph pinched off eastern access to the Mediterranean Sea, precluding Muslim forces from their southern infiltration of Europe. It bears additional historical significance as the last naval battle in which combatants engaged one another
in oar-powered ships. Rowing and fighting? No thanks. One at a time for me please.
Lepanto crafts its O.V. Gran Reserva from Palomino grapes and ages fifteen years in the Solera system. What’s Solera? In Lepanto’s case, they lay out a series of fifteen barrels; the first twelve are seasoned Tio Pepe Fino Sherry oak and the last three Oloroso sherry casks. They fill the first barrel with brandy and age for a year. With each passing year they fill one additional barrel until all in the sequence are occupied. After the next year they tap a measure from the oldest cask and bottle it for sale, replace that with juice from the second oldest barrel, and refill each subsequent drum in the same manner (with the youngest receiving freshly-made brandy). This is obviously resource- and time-intensive, not producing saleable brandy for fifteen plus years with most of the wine at any given time tied up in aging. And Lepanto began its Solera system in 1896, so today’s O.V. contains traces up to 115-years-old. Given the lengthy waiting period before the wine is ready, many folks who engage in the Solera system do so to have something they might pass down to the next generation. Best. Inheritance. Ever. Paul Pacult gives the O.V. Gran Reserva 5 stars and his “Highest Recommendation.” Attention cognac lovers: they’re playing our song.