Remy Martin’s winery was founded in 1886, at a time when the phylloxera was wreaking havoc in French vineyards. Founder Paul-Emile Rémy Martin II started to grow a new grape variety that was resistant to the parasite. In the same year, Paul-Emile also founded a distillery and began producing brandies. However, the product development took it’s time and St.Remy was not released until 1917. Over the decades, it has become the best-selling French brandy. The Remy Martin factory is located in the province of Cognac and also produces cognacs of the same name. However, wines from outside the cognac region are also used for St.Remy’s brandy. Later the company joined with Cointreau and is now known as Remy-Cointreau.
St. Remy brandies are made from wines made from white and dark grapes collected from all over France. The wines are distilled with a continuous working copper column still. After that the distillates are matured in small oak barrels. St.Remy doesn’t say how long the maturing will take and even though the brandy has VSOP in its name, one shouldn’t expect it to be in the same age group as it is for the cognacs. Generally, the most affordable brandies are matured for a one to a couple of years, after which sugar is added to soften the taste as well as the caramel color to give a brown color.
The aroma has a bit of pungent alcohol, in the background you can find something fruity, oak and raisin. The taste is sharp, the distillates used are clearly still young. The taste has notes of light fruitiness, a bit of leather, spices, the aroma of oak chips and dried figs. It does not have so aromatic taste and the burn is stronger than can be expected from the 36% strength. It’s also not so sweet, which is admittedly just positive. Many inexpensive brandies are so sweet because of the added sugar that they feel softer and more mature than they actually are. St.Remy clearly has the feel of mass production, it doesn’t have much of an originality. St. Remy is a conventional French brandy, the taste is what you can expect from a much produced and affordable wine spirit. It is not very enjoyable neat, so it suits better for different drinks and cocktails.