Last time we shopped for wine, we picked out a bottle of Torres Agua d’Or. It was unfamiliar, a little more expensive than usual (six hundred pesos plus) but the label said 40% alcohol volume and we were intrigued. We’ve never tried wine with such high alcohol content before. Beverages with such high alcohol volume usually fall under the “hard drinks” label, not wine.
Last night while waiting for Journo on Channel 5, Speedy brought out the chilled bottle of Agua d’Or. He poured them into glasses, I took photos then laid back to enjoy the drink. The first sensation was dry wine, the second sensation was a spreading warmth and then an effect that I only associate with cognac and brandy. Darn, the drink was strong but with none of the robustness of cognac or brandy.
In fact, Agua d’Or was light. Yet strong. How the heck could that be possible at all?
I checked the label later and it said “distilled wine.” As far as I know, when wine is distilled it becomes brandy — cognac, if produced in the French town of Cognac. The absence of the dark color doesn’t make Agua d’Or less brandy-like since the caramel color of brandy is often the result of food coloring to mimic aged richness.
The label also said that Agua d’Or is made from Ugni Blac and Folle Blanche grapes, the main constituents of cognac, according to The Whiskey Exchange.
So what exactly is Agua d’Or?
Towards the end of the 13th century Arnau de Vilanova, a wise alchemist, native of Valencia, introduced to the Christian world the distilling techniques that he had learned from the Arabs. When applied to the wines of Catalonia he achieved notable results: agua-de-vida (eau-de-vie, or the water of life) as it became known preserved the aromatic virtues of the wine and concentrated its most delicate essence. With the passage of time (some months) this precious liquid acquired golden hues and as a result Arnau de Vilanova called it aqua d’or (golden water). Now, 700 years later, the recovery of these ancient distilling techniques has made it possible to obtain this agua-de-vida, the very spirit of the perfume of wine. Following ancient, Medieval techniques, Aqua d’Or is obtained by the direct distillation of recently fermented white wines, with all their fruity richness. They are made from the varieties Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Moscatel de Grano Pequeño that have acclimatised to conditions prevalent in our Penedès vineyards [Source].
I’m not really a fan of brandy, I’m not a fan of dry wines either (I prefer semi-sweet to sweet wines), I’m not certain if I liked or disliked Agua d’Or but, for sure, it wasn’t something I could sip leisurely like the rather sweet cocktail drinks that I enjoy so much. I thought I’d prepare an accompaniment to our bottle of Agua d’Or so I made a bowl of guacamole, emptied a bag of tortilla chips on a plate and brought the chips and guacamole into the bedroom. Together, chips, guacamole and Agua d’Or went very well indeed.