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By Simone Zarmati Diament

Anyone you love enough to invest your dollars in the three digit range-receives a bottle of Cardenal Mendoza Non Plus Ultra from Sanchez Romate Hnos, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, Spain ($500) or a Nonino ÙE La Riserva dei Cent'anni ($400), by Orazio Nonino, a superior grappa from Friuli, Northern Italy, he will know you really mean well. For a long, long time, he will mellow thinking about you when he enjoys them as a luxurious after-dinner drink. For those of you who won't or can't, spend big bucks there's Cardenal Mendoza Solera Gran Reserva ($35) and Moet Hennessy USA new release: 10Cane Rum ($34).

For a long, long time, he will mellow thinking about you when he enjoys them as a luxurious after-dinner drink.

For those of you who still want to pamper Dad but don't, or can't, spend big bucks there's Cardenal Mendoza Solera Gran Reserva ($35) and Moet Hennessy USA new release: 10Cane Rum ($34).


There are limited amounts of this precious brandy and because of this a very small number of are fortunate enough to gain access to it.

To see, smell and to taste this brandy is to open a door into history. Founded in 1781 and now over 200 years old Sanchez Romate Hnos. In Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, Spain is one of the oldest bodegas in Spain. It was appointed the official supplier to the Spanish Royal Household, the Chamber of Lords and the Vatican, and is one of the few that remain in the hands of a Jerez family.

Cardenal Mendoza, which is a natural distillate obtained from wine reduced to it quintessence, uses the criadera and Solera systems which consist in blending the oldest brandies with younger ones inside 500-liter oak barrels piled in rows: Solera is the first along the bottom - where the oldest brandy ages, criaderas in the middle row and on top añadas containing the younger spirits. Each row of barrels is half-emptied every other year and re-filled with spirit from the younger rows. The result is that the Solera row will always contain part of the first batch, enriched by the accumulation of the next ones. Before bottling, "Cardenal Mendoza" is subjected to the traditional process of production and ageing that is required under the regulations, which are strictly enforced by the regulating council for the specific denomination "Brandy de Jerez".

Non Plus Ultra, (meaning no further blend), is of pure dark gold, perfectly balanced and smooth yet complex and elegant. The nose is rich with hints of raisins and plums, dates and roasted nuts, and its texture is creamy with deep flavors of dried fruit - apricot, fig, peach, smoke, caramel, honey and chocolate, and leaves a lingering finish. It is presented in an exclusive handcrafted glass decanter.


This is one of the highest category within "Brandy de Jerez". The spirits of highest quality are aged using the traditional method of soleras and criaderas (añadas, criaderas and solera). "Cardenal Mendoza" is aged in American oak casks that have previously been used for the ageing of Pedro Ximénez and old Oloroso wines. Round, clean, elegant, this fortified spirit which exhibits many of the qualities of the older brandy is bottled in fine crystal decanters.


To celebrate their centenary, the producers of the first ever single-vineyard,
single-grape grappa, have come up with the ultimate reserve grappa,
comparable to the finest Armagnac.

Nonino has changed the way the world views grappa. Founded in 1897 by Orazio Nonino in Ronchi di Pavia, in the Friuli region of Italy. Over the course of the next 70 years, ownership of Nonino has been handed down from one generation to the next three times. Today, fourth generation Proprietor Benito Nonino and his wife Giannola operate the distillery with their three daughters Cristina, Antonella and Elisabetta,.

In 1973, the Noninos crafted the first ever "cru monovitigno," a single-vineyard, single-grape grappa produced from grapes grown on estate proprieties outside the town of Percoto , with their flagship Grappa Nonino Cru Monovitigno Picolit. Picolit was a huge success, triggering many of the industry's current trends. Their single vineyard items, however, are --each specific product's fruit is sourced from an individually unique geographical area.

Then, in 1984, Benito and Gianolla introduced the world's first single-vineyard, single-grape distillate produced using whole grape clusters. This product, known as ÙE (pronounced "Oo-ay"), revolutionized the industry resulting in a product of more vibrant aromas and a rich, complex taste profile. Select grapes are harvested at the peak of ripeness and immediately taken to the distillery where the stalks are removed. The grapes are then loaded into vacuum tanks where the addition of selected yeast starts the fermentation process at controlled temperatures. Distillation of ÙE uses the same traditional stills as Grappa, allowing the distiller to control and retain the quality of the aroma and taste profiles present in the original grape.

In 1987 Nonino set oout to make the ultimate reserve UE by aging a small batch in Nevers, Limousin and ex-Sherry barriques for over 10 years. In 1997, the year of their 100th anniversary, they transferred the distillate into hand-blown bottles and laid it down for 8 more years.

The result, after 18 years, in Nonino UE La Riserva Dei Cent'anni. Glowing golden brown, it is comparable to the rarest scotch or Armagnac, with a most elaborate floral nose with aromas of sherry, wood, saffron, cinnamon and freshly shelled almonds. Warm, round and velvety in texture it develops in the glass with intriguing flavors of spices and basil, cherries, nutmeg and curry and leaves a mind-blowing lingering finish that continues beyond imagination.

Presented in elegant bottles - most of which are hand blown - Nonino UE La Riserva Cent'anni is sold in an elegant cherry Madrona Humidor.


It takes courage to launch a French Rum in the heart of Bacardi Country. Moet Hennessy USA, the newly formed division of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton has done just that with a super-premium rum.

An old-hand at premium cognacs, scotches and Champagnes, this is their first incursion in creating a new spirit.

Produced in Trinidad, 10 Cane Rum is grown in a terroir favorable to optimal sugar canes, then it is hand-harvested and made from the first pressing of sugar cane - which doesn't leave much residue. After extraction, the juice is carefully cleansed to maintain the golden color and bouquet.

The difference with other rums is that it goes through a process of small-batch distillation with French pot stills and aging in French Limousin oak barrels, which mellows the fresh cane flavor, according to Moet Hennessy Master Distiller Jean Pineau.

Mr. Pineau juxtaposes the French "je ne sais quoi" with their know-how of distillation, resulting in a smooth and rich, well textured rum which can be sipped neat or on the rocks, mixed with soda or tonic or mixed with cocktails like Mojitos or Daiquiris.

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