Try these brandies: your taste buds will thank you

Forget cognac…brandy is the tipple of choice for wintry nights in Cape Town. Respected wine judge and certified Cape Wine Master Winnie Bowman offers her suggestions of the best brandies to sip when visiting Cape Town.

The first two distilleries you simply must look at are Van Ryn’s and KWV.

There are two big international competitions for wine and spirits: the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) and the International Spirits Challenge (ISC).

In 2015 the Van Ryn’s 12-year-old won the award for the world’s best brandy at the IWSC and the year before that their 15-year-old brandy won the same award. KWV won Distiller of the Year at the ISC in 2015 – the first time it had ever been awarded to anything other than a cognac. Their 10-year-old brandy is also wonderful.

Van Ryn’s also make the Oude Meester Demant, a five-year-old brandy that is absolutely lovely. It’s a lighter, fruitier brandy that goes well with fish and citrus dishes, while their 12-, 15- and 20-year-old brandies lean more towards dried fruit and toasted nuts and caramel. They’re best for enjoying with chocolate, dessert, or an end-of-evening cigar.