More than just medicinal marijuana comes out of California's far north and that would include what Robb Report called the world's best liquor when it chose Germain-Robin's Select Barrel XO brandy over bottles priced ten times higher.
Now I'm not enough of an expert to be able to evaluate the claim, but I do know that the XO is awfully good stuff despite its position as only second from the top of the Germain-Robin line. Indeed, the top position is occupied by its $350 Anno Domini brandy, which was received with ho-hum statements like "one of the five cognacs of the century."
Happily, the XO is more affordable, so ordinary mortals who still have some of last year's bonus stashed away may consider it to counterbalance concerns that their check may be smaller this year. Retail is $120 a bottle and not unreasonable at that, but a little searching should find it for less than $90. That's only a bit more than half of the price of Hine XO, for example, and I haven't met anyone who has tasted the G-R and would go back to the Hine (I admit that I know no members of the Hine family).
Germain-Robin's claim to fame is that the grapes that go into its XO are premium varietals, 80% of them California Pinot Noir. According to the company, no other producer starts with grapes of this quality. The grapes are distilled in an antique cognac still and then aged for a decade in Limousin oak barrels.
None of this will be surprising to Germain-Robin fans, who already know that anything offered by the company is likely to be best in its class. Don't even let me get started on their apple brandy...