spirits

Spain’s Finest Brandy

GDA family - Gran Duque de Alba

Fine brandy is undergoing an exciting renaissance here in the United States, popping up with increasing frequency on top restaurant spirits lists and starring in some of the most inventive cocktails the mixology world can shake together. This means now is the perfect time to discover one of the most prestigious brandy producers of all, Bodegas Williams & Humbert, and their iconic, solera-aged Brandy de Jerez, Gran Duque de Alba.

Founded in 1877 by brothers-in-law Sir Andrew Williams and Arthur Humbert, this historic bodega is located in Jerez de la Frontera, the heart of sherry country, with vineyards spanning more than 486 hectares / 1,200 acres. While their sherry production had been booming for decades, it wasn’t until 1945 that their Gran Duque de Alba brandy was created.

You see, Williams & Humbert had an agent in Madrid who happened to be good friends with Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart y Falcó, otherwise known as the XVII Duque de Alba. This agent presented their new brandy to Jacobo and asked if they could use his name for the product. It took just a sip or two before the impressed duke insisted that the brandy was good enough to bear the name of his ancestor — the important historical figure of Fernando Álvarez de Duque de Alba, the Gran Duque de Alba. The rest, as they say, is history. Delicious, delicious history.

Today, Brandy de Jerez, like Gran Duque de Alba, is central to life in sherry country, from Seville to the famous towns of Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María. In fact, the Brandy de Jerez DO is one of only three official brandy appellations worldwide alongside Armagnac and Cognac, making it a rarity whose popularity is only beginning to surge.

Gran Duque de Alba Brandy Highlights

Gran Duque de Alba is a premium brandy from the heart of sherry and brandy production, Jerez, born out of the traditional solera system with an average age of 12 years.


These brandies are distilled 100% in pot stills which develop richer and more complex aromas and flavors.


Crema de Alba is a unique product in the brandy world, a cream-based liqueur blended from the Solera Gran Reserva.

Gran Duque de Alba Brandy

Discover the Complete Collection

Crema de Alba
Gran Duque de Alba Brandy

Crema de Alba

  • Jerez
  • Spain
Bodegas Williams & Humbert
Creamy Liqueur
Bodegas Williams & Humbert
Brandy
Bodegas Williams & Humbert
Brandy
Crema de Alba
Bodegas Williams & Humbert

Crema de Alba

Jerez Spain
Gran Duque d'Alba Oro
Bodegas Williams & Humbert

Gran Duque d'Alba Oro

Jerez Spain
Gran Duque d'Alba XO
Bodegas Williams & Humbert

Gran Duque d'Alba XO

Jerez Spain

Classic Brandy de Jerez from the Sultry South of Spain

Andalucia is the vast, hot region in the south of Spain known for its passionate and colorful flamenco, long siestas, and even longer nights in traditional tabancos where sherry is the drink of choice. Here groups of friends, or tertulias, will finish an evening with a long pour of brandy and a round-up of the day’s gossip and politics. Many questions are raised and discussed, but brandy is always the answer!

Brandy de Jerez can only come from wine grown, aged, and distilled in the famous sherry “triangle” of Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María. The premium range of Gran Duque de Alba brandies are made in the cellars of Williams & Humbert in the biggest of these towns, Jerez, whose name is synonymous with the region and wine style.

Castle in Jerez - Bodegas Williams & Humbert

Sustainable Principles in the Vineyards of Jerez

For over 25 years, Williams & Humbert has been a pioneer in sustainable practices in the Jerez region. During this time, they have eschewed traditional, chemical pesticides in favor of a more wholistic approach to managing their vineyards. A key part of this strategy has been the introduction of pheromones to control pests. They also closely monitor the vines by drones and have conducted extensive research into the soils to adapt their viticultural practices to the natural environment.

In 2015, the winery took an even more important step when they started to implement entirely organic farming principles in their vineyards. In Añina and Carrascal, they planted a new 40- hectare / 98-acre parcel for organic production and they are now aiming to make a certified organic range of sherries.

Jerez Vineyard - Gran Duque de Alba

Unlocking the Complexity of Gran Duque de Alba

The key? It’s all about oak! But, not oak to impart flavor or mask the character of the wine. The oak in brandy production is central to the renowned solera system, which resembles a tower of casks, traditionally stacked three or four rows high. The barrels must have already been used in aging one of the main sherry styles of wine, such as fino or oloroso, for at least three years before it can enter into the solera.

For Gran Duque de Alba Brandy, the wine is distilled 100% in pot stills then enters the solera. Brandy de Jerez has to age for at least six months in barrel but is usually aged for much longer — the Williams & Humbert brandy soleras have an average age of 12 years.

The winery draws from the solera for bottling around three times a year. They pull from the oldest barrels and then top up the younger ones so that the average age of the wine in each barrel is continuously increasing. The resulting brandy is uniform in style from the extended blending process and also rich and complex from aging.

Solera system with worker - Gran Duque de Alba

A New Generation Takes Charge of Gran Duque de Alba Brandy

Gran Duque de Alba has always been made under the watchful eye of family owners. The winery was originally owned by the Williams and Humbert brothers-in-law but was eventually bought by the Medina family. Paola Medina Sheldon is part of the second generation of the Medina family working in the winery. She started working in the bodega in various roles in 2001, before taking over as head winemaker in 2010. She studied winemaking at the University of Cadiz, gained a Master’s Degree in Viticulture and Winemaking in Madrid, then worked throughout various regions in Spain to develop a broader knowledge to bring back to her family estate. Her aim is to combine the traditions and experience of her winery’s 140-year history with innovation to ensure her sherries and brandies are relevant in the future.

Paola Medina Sheldon - Gran Duque de Alba