Review: Cardenal Mendoza Solera Gran Reserva

Updated: Jan 22



Cardenal Mendoza Solera Gran Reserva - 40%


When I think Brandy de Jerez, this is the bright yellow label that comes to mind. Only Torres seems to surpass Cardenal Mendoza in terms of US shelf presence. Despite its presence, I haven't seen too many raves, and at $40-$50 a bottle it's not going to get a ton of play in cocktails. I picked this up because it was a slightly older bottling (early-aughts?, $30), and I've been trying to get a feel for what to expect from the category.


This offering is another Solera Gran Reserva (minimum 3 years of aging). Some write-ups suggest that it's actually an average of 15 yrs, but without minimum age statements, Brandy de Jerez age claims are taken with a grain of salt. It's pot distilled and produced from Airén grapes grown in the La Mancha region.

Nose: Raisins. Chocolate. PX. Cheap wood. Mulled spice. It's not very expressive. Quality reads entry level.

Flavor: Some surprising complexity. Sherry. Chocolate. Caramel. Blue cheese. Espresso.


Structure: Thin. Very thin. Mostly linear. With a mild mid-palate kick. Decent length, but the notes are barely whispering.


Alcohol Integration: Nose and structure suffer from dilution.


Score: 4 (Not Complaining) I know I did plenty of complaining above. But the notes are pleasant; the flavors are there. It's just flat and thin. Damningly thin. Even the unexpected complexity can't salvage the structural issues.

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I feel like I'd get more just exploring sherry.


Archived Scores

Rating System

10 - Reevaluate The Budget

9 - Stash Two (If Able)

8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)

7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers

6 - Solid - Above Average

5 - Acceptable For The Situation

4 - Not Vocally Complaining

3 - Anything Else To Drink?

2 - Nothing Nice To Say

1 - Drain Pour

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