Bottle #67: Pousada Brandy

Jun 5, 2024

Bottle #67 is a bottle of Pousada Brandy from Portugal. The word “Pousada” means guesthouse in Portuguese, so researching this one was a bit of a challenge. But if you’re looking for a nice place to stay in Portugal, including ones with a brandy tasting experience, then I’ve got some recommendations for you.

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I did discover that Pousada is a label from Pocas, previously called Pocas Junior. Pocas is a historic port house which was founded by a Portuguese family and has remained within the family for four generations — a rare thing in Portugal. While this is more common today, most of the early Port houses were controlled by the British.

Their connection to brandy goes back to their beginning. The company was founded in 1918 by Manoel Domingues Poças Júnior: not to make Port wine, but to make the brandy that is used to fortify Port. Check out Bottle #61: Taylor Fladgate LBV Port for more on that. In 1932 one of their customers couldn’t pay their brandy bill. As payment, the company received a 2.5 hectare farm, Quinta de Quartas, which today houses their winemaking operation and visitor center.

Pocas Junior released its first vintage Port in 1960, but I can’t tell if they were making non-vintage port before then or were exclusively in the brandy business. They must have continued making and selling brandy side-by-side with their Port for a while – I found a bunch of old-looking bottles of Pocas Junior Old Brandy for sale on Portuguese secondary market websites. But none of those have a date on them, so I don’t know how long that lasted. Their current website doesn’t list any brandy for sale.

Their website also doesn’t mention the Pousada name. But the small print at the bottom of the label does say that it was made by Pocas Junior, and I found examples of Pousada Ports from them for sale online, with the last vintage from 2007.

In terms of pinning a date on my particular bottle, I can say that it’s from after 1984. It has something like that looks like a tax strip but is a “Selo de Garantia” from the Junta Nacional do Vinho. In tiny print it has the words “Dec-Lei 58/84 de 21 de Feb de 1984” which at first I thought must be a production date. But, no, it turns out to refer to a law passed in 1984 – Dec-Lei being short for “decree of law.” In 1986 another law was passed which changed the Junta Nacional do Vinho (JNV) into the Instituto da Vinha e do Vinho (IVV), so I could say this bottle was from 1984-1986. But I have no idea how long the IVV kept using the JNV’s labels, so it could have been after that. Still, I’m going to go with the 1980s for this one.

And that’s really all I could find out. What it lacks in story it might make up in tastiness, though. It’s in a glass bottle with pretty high shoulder levels, and that’s been working out pretty well for me with the other brandies I’ve tasted!

 

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Bottle #67: Pousada Brandy

Jun 5, 2024 |

Bottle #67 is a bottle of Pousada Brandy from Portugal. The word “Pousada” means guesthouse in Portuguese, so researching this one was a bit of a challenge. But if you’re looking for a nice place to stay in Portugal, including ones with a brandy tasting experience, then I’ve got some recommendations for you.

I did discover that Pousada is a label from Pocas, previously called Pocas Junior. Pocas is a historic port house which was founded by a Portuguese family and has remained within the family for four generations — a rare thing in Portugal. While this is more common today, most of the early Port houses were controlled by the British.

Their connection to brandy goes back to their beginning. The company was founded in 1918 by Manoel Domingues Poças Júnior: not to make Port wine, but to make the brandy that is used to fortify Port. Check out Bottle #61: Taylor Fladgate LBV Port for more on that. In 1932 one of their customers couldn’t pay their brandy bill. As payment, the company received a 2.5 hectare farm, Quinta de Quartas, which today houses their winemaking operation and visitor center.

Pocas Junior released its first vintage Port in 1960, but I can’t tell if they were making non-vintage port before then or were exclusively in the brandy business. They must have continued making and selling brandy side-by-side with their Port for a while – I found a bunch of old-looking bottles of Pocas Junior Old Brandy for sale on Portuguese secondary market websites. But none of those have a date on them, so I don’t know how long that lasted. Their current website doesn’t list any brandy for sale.

Their website also doesn’t mention the Pousada name. But the small print at the bottom of the label does say that it was made by Pocas Junior, and I found examples of Pousada Ports from them for sale online, with the last vintage from 2007.

In terms of pinning a date on my particular bottle, I can say that it’s from after 1984. It has something like that looks like a tax strip but is a “Selo de Garantia” from the Junta Nacional do Vinho. In tiny print it has the words “Dec-Lei 58/84 de 21 de Feb de 1984” which at first I thought must be a production date. But, no, it turns out to refer to a law passed in 1984 – Dec-Lei being short for “decree of law.” In 1986 another law was passed which changed the Junta Nacional do Vinho (JNV) into the Instituto da Vinha e do Vinho (IVV), so I could say this bottle was from 1984-1986. But I have no idea how long the IVV kept using the JNV’s labels, so it could have been after that. Still, I’m going to go with the 1980s for this one.

And that’s really all I could find out. What it lacks in story it might make up in tastiness, though. It’s in a glass bottle with pretty high shoulder levels, and that’s been working out pretty well for me with the other brandies I’ve tasted!

 

Want even more My Tiny Bottles? Patreon supporters get access to bonus content, behind the scenes information, monthly cocktail recipes and more. Become a free member or paid supporter here!

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